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If you are curious about aquatic life, you’ll love Shedd Aquarium, one of Chicago’s top five attractions! Home to over 32,000 animals, including: river turtles, tropical fish, beluga whales, dolphins, penguins, iguanas, tiny frogs, sea otters, and tiny monkeys. If you are enthusiastic about animals, you will certainly enjoy learning about the one’s who call Shedd home. It’s a wonderful Chicago attraction for everyone, including families with children, on sunny and rainy days all year round.
This exhibit displays plants and animals from the Amazon and teaches about how this ecosystem survives and even thrives with yearly floods. There are piranhas, monkeys, and even an anaconda in the Amazon Rising.
Check out the plant-life and the inhabitants of the Reef! Look for the green sea turtle and the sharks!
There are over 80 habitats in this exhibit ranging from Asia to the local American wetlands.
This exhibit will teach you about the Pacific Northwest. You will encounter beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions, and sea otters. You can also enjoy the Shedd’s Aquatic show.
Get up close and personal with underwater viewing decks where dolphins come to greet you while you eat your lunch, and a penguin playscape!
Home to sharks, stingrays, and live coral, the Wild Reefs offer a close encounter of some exotic creatures in their living habitat.
Before you buy…
We suggest purchasing tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. If you purchase online tickets on the same day there is a $15 per ticket express entry fee, so try to purchase at least one day in advance to get the best deal.
Chicago City Pass
Get in for free with the Chicago City Pass! See Chicago’s Top 5 attractions at a huge discount.
52 Days FREE for Illinois Residents is a program at Shedd Aquarium that can mean real savings for locals! During these Discount Days, general admission is free with a valid Illinois State ID/Driver’s License, and upgrades come at a discount! Check out the current discount dates and special offers.
Pro-tip: The colder it is in Chicago, the more likely the Shedd will add free days for Illinois residents.
(All prices are subject to change and may vary. For the most current information, please go to their ticket page.)
Shedd Aquarium hours vary by season. Last ticket purchases occur 45 minutes prior to closing each day. Check the calendar before you visit.
Address: 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60605.
While the Shedd is within walking distance of most Downtown hotels and popular attractions, there is public transportation and parking at Shedd. It takes approx. 15 minutes to walk from the Buckingham Fountain to the Shedd Aquarium. Taking public transportation? Try this trip planner!
Pro tip: Shedd Aquarium shares a front yard with Field Museum! Why not check out both in one day? Purchase tickets in advance to skip the line (or get both free as part of the Chicago City Pass package) and you’ll have plenty of time!
The Shedd officially opened in 1930 thanks to John Graves Shedd who envisioned Chicago having the one of the most wonderful aquariums in the United States. As the first inland aquarium to have both freshwater and saltwater fishes, the aquarium experiences delays when opening. The water had to be transported via 160 train cars from Florida! When the aquarium officially opened, it didn’t have any fish yet! (Don’t worry, now it has 5,000,000 gallons of water containing over 1500 species.)
In a city known for her architecture, the Shedd Aquarium is truly a work of art. It was built in the Beaux Arts style by the architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White. The Shedd Aquarium is located alongside the glittering Lake Michigan which provides a perfect backdrop to this nautical inspired structure.
Graham and his team’s design is a classic Greek temple combined with a nautical theme. The top of the roof displays Neptune’s Trident! See if you can find all of the animals in the architecture and design.