Shedd Aquarium | Chicago, IL

Attractions, Zoo and aquariums Museum Campus
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Shedd Aquarium | Chicago, IL
Photograph: Brenna Hernandez
Shedd Aquarium

Everything you need to know about visiting Shedd Aquarium (1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago IL 60605)

Anchoring the aquatic offerings at this Chicago institution are enduring favorites such as piranhas, frogs and snakes of the Amazon; rays, turtles and moray eel of the Caribbean; frightening predator sharks, mesmerizing jellies, adorable penguins and marine mammals like sea lions and otters.

Know before you go

General admission includes all permanent exhibits, animal presentations, the Amphibians special exhibit and Stingray Touch (late May to October). For an additional fee, those looking to get up close and personal with the aquarium's inhabitants should consider an Extraordinary Experiences package, with options like shark feeding and a beluga or penguin encounter. Families looking to maximize their time at the Shedd should book their tickets in advance, as the wait time for tickets can add up over the weekends. 

Prepare to explore 

The aquarium boasts seven permanent exhibits including Amazon Rising with colorful fish, stingrays and an anaconda; the Abbott Oceanarium with beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions and sea otters; and the Wild Reef with sharks, stingrays and live coral. It's easy to spend an entire day wandering through the Shedd, but we recommend identifying a handful of must-see exhibits before you go to prioritize your time.

Come back for more

You might want to schedule a repeat visit to check out live jazz music and cocktails at Jazzin' at the Shedd or plan an Extraordinary Experience with an animal. The penguin encounter, for instance, allows guests to meet a real penguin and learn more about the animal's population.

Our Chicago editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of Chicago at your fingertips. Chicago was most recently updated with new tips on June 22, 2017.

Posted:

Venue name: Shedd Aquarium | Chicago, IL
Contact:
Address: 1200 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago
60605
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 9am–5pm; Sat, Sun 9am–6pm.
Transport: Bus: 12, 130, 146.
Price: General admission: $39.95, children 3-11 $29.95; Chicago residents: $19.95, children 3–11 $14.95
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  • Wednesday August 23 2017 - Wednesday September 13 2017

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LiveReviews|12
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tastemaker

I like the Shedd. It's one of those places in the city that you have to go at least once because you'll be met with gaping mouths if you say "never been!" If you're lucky enough to go during the week, go! The weekend is so overcrowded that you don't really get to enjoy the exhibits because you're stuck in a walking line throughout the aquarium. I love dolphins (who doesn't? really?) but I would pass on the dolphin show and 3d show. I think it's a distraction to get folks out of the exhibits when they oversell tickets. 

tastemaker

I finally went to the Shedd Aquarium for the first time and really enjoyed it! I've been to a few aquariums around the country and this is definitely one of my top favorites. It is huge and offers a loooot of information and entertainment. My favorite area is the coral reefs. Next time, I would like to check out the special shows or exhibits where you have to pay an extra fee.


I went there with my boyfriend I fad not been since grade school and we had so.much fun it makes you feel like a kid again


If you love seeing a diverse array of aquatic animals then the Shedd Aquarium should definitely be on your list of to-do's when hitting up beautiful Chicago. A word to the wise, get a City Pass, this pass will fast track you into the aquarium as lines here start from early and stretch for miles. Once inside an adventure awaits where you can see exhibits such as Amazon Rising, the Caribbean Reef, Waters of the World and these are just to name a view. There are also dolphin and penguin shows as well as 4D movies which will make you feel like you are swimming with the fishies. Although this aquarium is large you can be done in 3 hours which is a good amount of time to spend learning about the fascinating world that lives on our oceans, lakes and rivers!


Located in Museum Campus and built with the enigmatic architecture of the early 20th century, the Shedd Aquarium is has several permanent and special exhibitions, recreating watery environments from around the world to host over 1500 species of fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, coral, anemones, and insects. What I like about the Shedd is if you love biology, each experience is unlike the other, because your interaction with the animal's exhibits are unpredictable. One of my favorite activities in this city is to go to the Shedd on a quiet day, and take my time going through each space. 

moderator

How can you not have a good time at the aquarium? There's always something new and interesting to see. Love the dolphins and the sea turtle! 


I love everything about this aquarium, from its old school displays set amongst the building's classic architecture to newer immersive areas like the Wild Reef. The real standout, though, is the Oceanarium. The views of the lake are amazing, as is the Pacific Northwest theming. Most importantly, the sea lions, belugas, dolphins and sea otters in that area are adorable and visibly well cared for. Admission isn't cheap—maybe skip the 3-D movie, if you can—but it's definitely worth a visit regardless of whether or not you have kids. Make sure to say hi to Granddad, the over-80-year-old lungfish.

moderatorStaff Writer

I've been obsessed with the beluga whales here since my elementary school took a field trip to the aquarium for my first visit. As an adult the wide variety of fish and amphibians on display still impress and it's amazing to see the wonder in the kids' eyes as they see these creatures up close for the first time. On my last visit I got to take a behind-the-scenes tour, which I would definitely recommend to anyone looking to see another side of the aquarium.


There are monkeys at this aquarium, and to me, that was the best part. The beluga whales are amazing, and so is the enormous 17-foot sawfish (you'll want to Google that fish), as well as the vertical tanks of shimmering seahorses, but overall, I'm just not a fish kind of guy. Shedd shouldn't bear the brunt of my distaste for marine wildlife, but I still feel the exhibits could have been a bit more varied. Like the rest of Chicago, the museum has a lot of everything, including the common staples, as for the exotic though, you may have to go elsewhere.


This is one of the best aquariums I have ever been to. There is such a wide variety of wildlife and plenty of information to learn more about the animals that are at the Shedd. Last time I went the jellyfish exhibit was extra but it was worth it.

moderator

They have more types of fishes than you ever knew existed. There are dolphins, a beluga whale and the most adorable baby sea otter on this side of the Mississippi River.


Admission is reasonable, but if you want to see the super crazy stuff like a dolphin do a backflip, you'll have to cough up some extra coin.


Swimming with the animals is not allowed, but if you spend a year or two befriending the Shedd's staff, someone might let you slap on a suit and take a dip with the cephalopods. It almost certainly won't happen, but you never know.