Step inside the magnificent world of Shedd Aquarium and prepare to be captivated by the wonders that await you. With its breathtaking and awe-inspiring , this renowned aquatic haven offers an unparalleled experience that will leave you in awe. Dive into the vibrant depths of the Oceanarium and witness majestic dolphins leaping through the air, or immerse yourself in the Amazon Rising exhibit and encounter astonishing creatures that call the rainforest their home. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant coral reefs or admiring the graceful movements of beluga whales, Shedd Aquarium promises an unforgettable journey through the wonders of the underwater realm.

Discover the wonders of Shedd Aquarium

History of Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium, located in Chicago, Illinois, has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1930. It all began when John G. Shedd, a prominent philanthropist and president of the retail giant Marshall Field & Company, expressed his vision of creating an aquarium that would both educate and entertain the public. Inspired by the success of the recently opened New York Aquarium, Shedd generously donated $2 million to make his dream a reality.

Founding of the aquarium

The construction of Shedd Aquarium faced challenges, including the Great Depression, which hindered fundraising efforts. Nonetheless, with the steadfast commitment from the board of directors, construction began in 1927. The architectural firm, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, designed the iconic Beaux-Arts style building that has become a beloved symbol of Chicago.

Construction of the iconic building

The construction of the aquarium was a massive undertaking. The building’s distinctive limestone façade, neoclassical architecture, and ornate details set it apart from other structures in the city. The architects aimed to create a magnificent structure that would inspire wonder and awe in visitors. The building’s grandeur was a reflection of the aquarium’s mission to provide a world-class experience for all who enter its doors.

Opening of the aquarium

On May 30, 1930, Shedd Aquarium opened its doors to the public, welcoming visitors into a world of marine wonder and discovery. The grand opening attracted thousands of eager guests who were captivated by the vast array of aquatic life on display. From its inception, Shedd Aquarium has held true to its mission of promoting understanding and appreciation for aquatic life through education, conservation, and research.

Shedd Aquarium boasts a diverse range of exhibits that showcase the beauty and wonder of the underwater world. Each exhibit offers a unique and immersive experience, allowing visitors to connect with and learn about different ecosystems and species.

Amazon Rising

One of the most popular exhibits at Shedd Aquarium is Amazon Rising, which transports visitors to the heart of the Amazon rainforest. This exhibit features a replica of the Amazon River, complete with towering trees, exotic plants, and a variety of freshwater fish. Visitors can explore the diverse ecosystem and learn about the importance of protecting this vital habitat.

Caribbean Reef

The Caribbean Reef exhibit showcases the vibrant and colorful found in the Caribbean Sea. Visitors can marvel at the stunning coral reefs, observe tropical fish darting through the crystal-clear waters, and even spot a few sea turtles gracefully swimming by. This exhibit provides a glimpse into the fascinating world beneath the waves.

Abbott Oceanarium

The Abbott Oceanarium is home to a wide range of marine species, including dolphins, beluga whales, sea otters, and penguins. Visitors can watch captivating dolphin and beluga whale shows, where these intelligent creatures showcase their agility and interact with their trainers. The Oceanarium also provides a unique opportunity to observe marine mammals up close and learn about their behaviors and conservation.

Wild Reef

For those seeking an adventure in the ocean depths, the Wild Reef exhibit promises an unforgettable journey. This exhibit replicates a coral reef habitat, complete with sharks, stingrays, and a dazzling array of colorful fish. Visitors can explore an underwater viewing tunnel, marvel at the beauty of the coral formations, and gain insights into the delicate balance of life within the reef ecosystem.

Polar Play Zone

Designed especially for younger visitors, the Polar Play Zone provides an interactive and educational experience. Children can crawl through tunnels, play in a snow cave, and discover the wonders of the Arctic and Antarctic regions. This exhibit combines fun and learning, inspiring children to develop a lifelong love for the natural world.

Unique Aquatic Species

Shedd Aquarium is home to a remarkable collection of aquatic species from around the world. These captivating creatures serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts and play a vital role in educating visitors about the importance of conservation.

Beluga whales

One of the most beloved and awe-inspiring species at Shedd Aquarium is the beluga whale. These majestic creatures, known for their distinctive white coloring and melodic vocalizations, captivate visitors with their grace and beauty. Shedd Aquarium is committed to the conservation of beluga whales and actively participates in research and breeding programs to ensure their survival in the wild.


The dolphins at Shedd Aquarium are true ambassadors of the oceans, showcasing their intelligence, agility, and playfulness during daily training and educational shows. Visitors have the opportunity to witness their incredible acrobatics and learn about the importance of protecting the marine environments in which they thrive.


Shedd Aquarium is one of the few places where visitors can observe various species of sharks up close. From the impressive sand tiger shark to the fearsome hammerhead, these predators inspire both fear and fascination. The aquarium’s shark exhibits offer visitors a chance to learn about these often-misunderstood creatures and gain a deeper understanding of their importance in ocean ecosystems.


Delicate and ethereal, jellyfish captivate with their mesmerizing movements and stunning bioluminescence. Shedd Aquarium features a dedicated jellyfish exhibit, where visitors can observe these otherworldly creatures as they gracefully glide through the water. Through educational displays and interactive experiences, visitors can learn about the intricacies of jellyfish biology and their vital role in the marine food chain.

Sea turtles

Shedd Aquarium is committed to the conservation of sea turtles, many of which are endangered or threatened due to habitat destruction and climate change. Visitors can learn about the challenges these ancient creatures face and hear inspiring stories of rescue, rehabilitation, and release. The aquarium’s sea turtle exhibits provide a unique opportunity to see these magnificent animals up close and appreciate their resilience in the face of adversity.

Educational Programs

An essential aspect of Shedd Aquarium’s mission is its commitment to education and inspiring a love for aquatic life among visitors of all ages. The aquarium offers a wide range of educational programs and resources to engage and inform both students and the general public.

Engaging workshops for students

Shedd Aquarium’s workshops for students provide unique and immersive learning experiences. Designed to align with educational standards, these workshops offer hands-on activities, interactive demonstrations, and behind-the-scenes access to engage students with the wonders of the aquatic world. From exploring marine ecosystems to conducting experiments, these workshops inspire curiosity and foster a deeper appreciation for the environment.

Diverse educational resources

In addition to workshops, Shedd Aquarium provides a wealth of educational resources for teachers, parents, and students. These resources include lesson plans, interactive online activities, and classroom materials that align with various age groups and subjects. Whether in the classroom or at home, these resources enable educators and families to expand their knowledge and create meaningful learning experiences.

Interactive exhibits

One of the hallmarks of Shedd Aquarium is its interactive exhibits, which offer visitors the opportunity to engage with the exhibits through hands-on activities and interactive displays. From touch tanks where visitors can feel the texture of a starfish to interactive simulations that allow users to experience the challenges faced by marine animals, these exhibits bring learning to life and encourage active participation.

Discover the wonders of Shedd Aquarium

Conservation Initiatives

At the heart of Shedd Aquarium’s mission is its dedication to conservation and sustainability. Through partnerships with prominent conservation organizations, the implementation of sustainable practices, and active involvement in research and conservation projects, Shedd Aquarium is committed to making a positive impact on the natural world.

Partnerships with conservation organizations

Shedd Aquarium collaborates with renowned conservation organizations to support and fund initiatives aimed at preserving and protecting aquatic ecosystems and species. These partnerships allow for the exchange of knowledge, resources, and expertise, enabling collective efforts towards a sustainable future. By working together, Shedd Aquarium and its partners can address pressing environmental issues and inspire communities to take action.

Sustainable practices at the aquarium

In addition to external partnerships, Shedd Aquarium is committed to implementing sustainable practices within its own operations. These practices range from reducing waste and energy consumption to responsibly sourcing materials and promoting conservation-minded behavior among staff and visitors. By leading by example, Shedd Aquarium aims to inspire individuals and organizations to adopt more sustainable practices in their daily lives.

Research and conservation projects

Shedd Aquarium actively conducts research and conservation projects to contribute to the scientific understanding of aquatic ecosystems and aid in the conservation of endangered and threatened species. From studying the behavior and biology of beluga whales to monitoring the impact of climate change on marine habitats, these projects play a vital role in informing policies and practices that promote the long-term health of the oceans.

Events and Activities

Shedd Aquarium offers a variety of events and activities that allow visitors to further engage with the aquatic world and create lasting memories.

Animal encounters

Animal encounters provide visitors with the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the aquarium’s most fascinating residents. Whether petting a penguin, touching a stingray, or meeting a sea lion face-to-face, these encounters offer a unique and unforgettable experience that fosters a deeper connection with the natural world.

Aquarium sleepovers

For a truly memorable experience, Shedd Aquarium offers sleepovers, where visitors can spend an entire night surrounded by the wonders of the underwater world. Participants can explore the aquarium after hours, enjoy behind-the-scenes tours, and even sleep next to the exhibits. This overnight adventure is perfect for families, youth groups, or anyone seeking a truly immersive aquarium experience.

Dive shows

Dive shows at Shedd Aquarium provide visitors with a captivating glimpse into the underwater world. Divers perform breathtaking routines alongside the aquatic animals, showcasing their beauty, grace, and natural behaviors. These shows not only entertain but also educate audiences about the importance of conservation and protecting aquatic habitats.

Special exhibitions

Throughout the year, Shedd Aquarium hosts special exhibitions that offer a deeper dive into specific topics related to aquatic life and conservation. These exhibitions often feature interactive displays, educational presentations, and unique artifacts that provide a more in-depth understanding of the subject matter. From exploring the depths of the Pacific Ocean to uncovering the mysteries of deep-sea creatures, these exhibitions offer a wealth of knowledge and exploration.

Discover the wonders of Shedd Aquarium

Visitor Amenities

Shedd Aquarium strives to provide a comfortable and convenient experience for all visitors. From dining options to souvenir shopping, these visitor amenities ensure a well-rounded visit.

Cafes and restaurants

Shedd Aquarium features several cafes and restaurants that serve a variety of food and beverage options. From quick snacks to full meals, visitors can enjoy a range of choices to suit their preferences. These dining establishments also prioritize sustainability and promote the use of locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.

Gift shops

The aquarium’s gift shops offer a wide selection of merchandise, including educational books, plush toys, apparel, and unique souvenirs. Visitors can take home a piece of their Shedd Aquarium experience and support the aquarium’s mission through their purchases. From marine-themed jewelry to eco-friendly products, the gift shops offer something for everyone.

Wheelchair accessibility

Shedd Aquarium is committed to providing accessibility for all visitors. The building is equipped with ramps, elevators, and accessible restrooms to ensure a comfortable visit. Wheelchair rental services are also available for those who require mobility assistance.

Parking facilities

Convenient parking facilities are available for visitors arriving by car. The aquarium provides accessible parking spaces for individuals with disabilities, ensuring that everyone can easily access the facility. Visitors are encouraged to check the aquarium’s website for parking availability and rates.

Visitor Tips

To make the most of your visit to Shedd Aquarium, consider the following tips to enhance your experience.

Plan your visit ahead of time

To maximize your time at Shedd Aquarium, it’s advisable to plan your visit ahead of time. Be sure to check the aquarium’s website for current hours of operation, show timings, and any special events or exhibitions taking place. This will help you optimize your visit and ensure that you don’t miss any must-see .

Check show timings and feeding sessions

Shedd Aquarium offers a range of daily shows and feeding sessions that provide unique insights into the behavior and care of the animals. Checking the show timings and feeding schedules ahead of time allows you to plan your visit around these activities and ensure you don’t miss out on any captivating moments.

Utilize the Shedd Aquarium app

The Shedd Aquarium app is a valuable resource that can enhance your visit. The app provides a map of the aquarium, show schedules, educational information, and real-time updates on activities and events. Downloading and utilizing the app can help you navigate the aquarium and stay informed throughout your visit.

Avoid peak hours for a more relaxed experience

To avoid crowds and enjoy a more relaxed visit, consider arriving at Shedd Aquarium during non-peak hours. Weekdays and early mornings tend to be less crowded, allowing you to have a more leisurely exploration of the exhibits and enjoy a quieter ambiance.

Location and Hours

Shedd Aquarium is located at 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois. The aquarium is easily accessible by public transportation and offers parking facilities for those arriving by car.

The aquarium’s operating hours vary throughout the year, so it’s important to check the website or contact the aquarium for the most up-to-date information. Generally, Shedd Aquarium is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with extended hours during the summer and on certain holidays.

Ticket prices and discounts can also be found on the aquarium’s website. Shedd Aquarium offers various ticket options, including general admission and bundled packages that provide access to additional shows and exhibits. Discounts are available for seniors, students, and Illinois residents, making the aquarium accessible to a wide range of visitors.

Supporting Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium relies on the support of its community and visitors to continue its important work in education, conservation, and research. There are several ways to support the aquarium and contribute to its mission of protecting and preserving aquatic life.

Membership opportunities

Becoming a member of Shedd Aquarium is a great way to support its ongoing initiatives and enjoy exclusive benefits. Members receive free admission, discounts on special events and programs, and priority access to new exhibits and experiences. Membership options are available for individuals, families, and businesses, allowing everyone to become a part of the Shedd Aquarium community.

Donations and contributions

Shedd Aquarium welcomes donations and contributions from individuals and organizations that wish to support its conservation efforts. These contributions help fund research projects, educational programs, and the care and conservation of the aquarium’s animal residents. Every donation, no matter the amount, makes a difference and helps Shedd Aquarium continue its vital work.

Volunteer programs

Shedd Aquarium offers volunteer programs that provide unique opportunities to contribute to the aquarium’s mission while gaining valuable experience. Volunteers assist with various tasks, including visitor engagement, animal care, and conservation initiatives. By giving your time and skills, you can actively contribute to the aquarium’s efforts and make a positive impact on the natural world.

In conclusion, Shedd Aquarium is a remarkable institution that combines education, conservation, and entertainment to inspire visitors of all ages. With its fascinating exhibits, diverse species, educational programs, and commitment to sustainability, the aquarium offers an unforgettable experience for anyone with a love for the aquatic world. By supporting Shedd Aquarium through memberships, donations, or volunteer efforts, you can help ensure the continued preservation and protection of our oceans and the countless species that call them home.