Shedd Aquarium. Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois

Shedd Aquarium

Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois

A Day at the Shedd Aquarium Photo © Dru Blood

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Shedd Aquarium

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Shed Aquarium - Shedd Aquarium
Shed Aquarium - Shedd Aquarium. Photo by Hywell Martinez
Shedd Aquarium is a popular tourist attraction that is located in the Museum Campus of Chicago’s Grant Park. It is one of the most visited aquariums in the United States and is known for its award-winning marine exhibits that feature fish, birds, marine mammals, amphibians, snakes, and insects. It’s an especially great place to visit when you want to escape the scorching heat on a summer day in Chicago.


Shedd Aquarium is named after John G. Shedd, a prominent Chicago philanthropist and businessman who donated $3 million for the construction of an aquarium to complement The Field Museum. It first opened in 1930 with 132 exhibition tanks which were filled with seawater that was transported to the inland site using a custom-made railroad car called the Nautilus. In 1971, the aquarium added the popular Caribbean Reef exhibit and purchased a research vessel in order conduct its own field research. Today, the museum offers visitors the chance to see hundreds of fascinating marine species through captivating exhibits and experiences.

Shedd Aquarium - Shedd
Shedd Aquarium. Photo by Dhaval Shreyas


The aquarium is home to several fascinating permanent exhibits, including a few that have won awards from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Amazon Rising

In this exhibit, you can learn all about the Amazon River as well as the indigenous cultures, plants, and animals that live near it. Animals on display include piranhas, stingrays, monkeys, turtles, and a fascinating fruit-eating fish called a tambaqui.

Caribbean Reef

This fascinating coral reef exhibit allows you to view creatures like moray eels, green sea turtles, and sharks at eye level. If you stop by at the right time, you might get to see a diver feeding the animals as well.

Abbott Oceanarium

Everyone’s favorite lively marine mammals can be found in this Pacific Northwest habitat, which is home to sea lions, sea otters, beluga whales, and Pacific white-sided dolphins.

Polar Play Zone

Polar Play Zone is a special area where children can pretend to be penguins while dressing up in penguin suits, explore the Arctic in a miniature submarine, and view whales, dolphins, and other sea creatures.

Waters of the World

Learn all about sea life from around the world while viewing 80 different habitats with animals from places such as Africa, Asia, and South America.

At Home on the Great Lakes

This exhibit introduces visitors to the most famous animals from the Great Lakes region. You can also touch a sturgeon, an interesting bottom-dwelling fish covered in armor-like plates.

Wild Reef

This award-winning exhibit features a coral reef full of colorful fish, live coral, sharks, and stingrays.


The aquarium also offers a number of experiences that you won’t want to miss, including an aquatic show and a 4-D experience.

Aquatic Show

The daily aquatic show features trainers who provide information on interesting animals like sea lions, dolphins, and beluga whales.

4-D Experience

If you love films, then you’ll want to grab a seat and enjoy one of the nature-themed films on display in the 4-D theater, complete with vibrating chairs, bubbles, water mists, and other effects that immerse you in the film.

Stingray Touch

If you’ve always wondered what a stingray feels like, you can touch one in a shallow pool in this exhibit while learning about these fascinating creatures.

Extraordinary Experiences

Visitors that aren’t on a tight budget can enjoy even more exciting experiences like feeding sharks, behind-the-scenes tours, beluga encounters, penguin encounters, and the opportunity to see what it’s like to be a marine mammal trainer for a day for an additional fee.

Practical Information

Public transportation is the easiest way to reach Shedd Aquarium. The nearest Metra commuter train station is Museum Campus/11th St., while the closest ‘L’ train station is Roosevelt, which is accessible from the Red, Orange, and Green Lines. Both train stations are a short walk from the aquarium. CTA bus routes 130 and 146 also stop nearby. If you’d prefer to bike to the museum, you can rent a bike for the day using Divvy, Chicago’s bike-sharing service.

Address: 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

Hours: Shedd Aquarium is open daily from 9:00 until 17:00, with extended hours until 18:00 in the summertime and on weekends.

Prices: General admission, which includes the Caribbean Reef, Waters of the World, and Amazon Rising exhibits, costs approximately $ 8.00 USD for adults and $ 6.00 USD for children. The Total Experience Pass, on the other hand, costs approximately $ 40 USD for adults and $ 30 USD for children, and includes all exhibits and experiences. You can save money on admission by purchasing your tickets online in advance.

Similar Landmarks

A few other popular attractions are located within Chicago’s Museum Campus, namely The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and the Soldier Field football stadium used by the Chicago Bears (Wikipedia Article). Other popular landmarks in Chicago include Willis Tower, the Art Institute of Chicago, John Hancock Center, and the Museum of Science and Industry.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Apr 22, 2015

Pictures of Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium - Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium - Photo by Molly Marshall

Shedd Aquarium - Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium - Photo by swimfinfan

Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium. Photo by Melanie (Newman) Wilson


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