Boredom Busters

Shaking Things Up: Adler ready to unveil world's 'largest snow globe' this month

2012-11-01T00:00:00Z Shaking Things Up: Adler ready to unveil world's 'largest snow globe' this monthBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

It's an idea that's been swirling around for some time.

And finally, this month, guests at Adler Planetarium in Chicago will get to float inside what is being billed as "the world's largest snow globe."

Opening Nov. 16 and continuing through Jan. 6, 2013, what is normally a desk or table conversation piece deemed knick-knack or paperweight, will morph into a cavernous virtual snow globe inside the 70-foot Grainger Sky Theater dome at the Adler Planetarium.

"This is a first, to create a snow globe of this size, with the chance for people to have the experience from the inside looking up and through it," said Mark Webb, manager of theaters for Adler Planetarium, where he has been on staff for nearly 18 years.

"We began talking about this back in March. And with a bit of our own holiday magic, we've made it happen."

The "holiday magic" Webb refers to has something to do with the more than 20 projectors dedicated to creating even a single image highlighted on the theater's dome for the viewing pleasure of reclining guests below.

"Not only does our technology allow for a high contrast for even the smallest of images, like snowflakes, for example, but it also gives us the ability to have our guest feel as though they are surrounded by the environment being projected," Webb said.

He said one of the most difficult steps was for the designers to identify a source to provide the snowflake images that are created inside the giant snow globe effect.

The Adler's immersive snow globe experience uses high resolution photos of actual snowflakes. The snowflakes were collected and photographed by Kenneth Libbrecht, creator of Dr. Libbrecht's other job is serving as Chairman of the Physics Department at Cal Tech.

"After we conceptualized what we wanted and how it should look and feel, we found exactly what we think works," Webb said.

"We are very happy with the final result."

The Snow Globe show experience is included for guests who have admission to any of the theater shows, and is included as a bonus.

FYI: The Welcome to the Universe Pass includes general admission and the new Snow Globe holiday show, along with "Welcome to the Universe," an additional show and the Atwood Experience. Adults $28; Child (ages 3-11) $22. General admission (which doesn't include shows) is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for children ages 3-11. Visit or call (312) 922-7827. 

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