In 1928, Max Adler, a senior officer and early stockholder in Sears, Roebuck and Company, decided to invest part of his fortune in a public facility that would benefit future generations of Chicagoans. He learned of the mechanism that could dramatically replicate the night sky that was being demonstrated in Europe and was intrigued enough to personally investigate this instrument. Accompanied by his wife and architect Ernest Grunsfeld, he went to Germany and was so impressed that he donated the funds to construct the first modern planetarium in the Western Hemisphere.
The planetarium has an "Adler After Dark" event on the third Thursday of every month, where adults can wander the museum from 6pm to 10pm, sipping drinks from one of the multiple bars scattered throughout. Tickets move fast, but it's worth it.