Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

4 out of 5 stars 55 Reviews

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  • Jellyfish!
    Jellyfish!
    by rmjiv
  • Run penguin, run!
    Run penguin, run!
    by rmjiv
  • Shedd Aquarium
    by goodfish
  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    Shedd Aquarium

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Feb 12, 2014
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    This is an impressive aquarium in the Museum Campus next to the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium. It has "stingray touch" where one can touch a stingray and beluga whales among other things. It is also an impressive building in its own right.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Top 10-Shedd Aquarium

    by Dabs Updated Dec 25, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beluga whale-Oceanarium

    Last visit-12/24/13. Watch Groupon for discount offers, we got a Total Experience Pass that included everything at the Shedd for $20.

    The Shedd Aquarium comes up on the must see list of every guidebook with good reason. It is the world's largest indoor aquarium and if you are into fish, you can spend hours here.

    There are 3 parts to the aquarium:

    Main aquarium, the highlight is the Caribbean Reef, a 90,000 gallon round tank when you first walk in. Catch one of the daily feedings, look for the enormous green eel and the green sea turtle. In another section, be sure to see Granddad, an Australian lungfish that has been there since 1933 when he was used to lure visitors to the World's Fair.

    The Oceanarium, added in 1991, is supposed to resemble the Pacific Northwest. There's a aquatic show called Fantasea that replaced the old dolphin show, it's not exactly a Sea World type show but they do highlight the beluga whales, dolphins and a sea lion. The wall of windows in the Oceanarium creates the stunning optical illusion of connecting with Lake Michigan in the background. There are also several beluga whales that seem to enjoy posing for pictures, playful sea otters (some rescued from the Exxon Valdez oil spill), seals and penguins.

    The Wild Reef, added in 2003, features sharks and a coral reef. It's most famous resident, Bubba, a 140 lb. Queensland grouper that had successful cancer treatments died in 2006 :-(

    If you have a short amount of time, you can visit the main part of the Shedd for $6-8.

    DISCOUNT DAYS-there are 52 days a year that offer free general admission to Illinois residents only, the main part is FREE, extra if you want to see the Wild Reef or Oceanarium. There's also a discount on certain days if you have a Bank of America credit/debit card.

    Best time to go-when it first opens or on a weekday, the crowds steadily become larger

    For more pictures and some interesting stories of some of it's residents, see my Travelogue

    Fun Fact-when the aquarium opened in 1930, the saltwater was sent from Key West to Chicago by rail, the final shipment of salt water was received in 1970! Now the Shedd mixes it's own.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Something's fishy in Chicago

    by goodfish Updated Oct 17, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    Umptybumpty shapes and colors drifting in cool turquoise or darting in and out of brilliant coral…Shedd is great day out for the small and the tall. Aquariums, like zoos, are perfect for entertaining families of all ages 'cause who doesn't love to watch the fish? There are enough fins here to keep everyone occupied for the better part of a day, and it's an especially good choice for a rainy/cold one.

    They are swimmingly equipped to handle wee people with a food court and 2 cafes for filling empty tummies, and plenty of restrooms. The entire complex is stroller and wheelchair-friendly and, of course, there is a very large gift shop for picking up a plushy beluga or sea turtle t-shirt to take home.

    All this fun isn't exactly inexpensive: general admission ($8 adults/$6 kids) does not include the 4D theater, aquatic show, Polar Play Zone or at least 3 other exhibits that are covered under Shedd's higher-end tickets or CityPASS. Considering that full adult admission is $35.00 ($26 kids) at time of this writing, the $76 adult/$59 child CityPASS (includes 4 more Chicago attractions) may be worth shelling out for if venturing on to the nearby Field Museum and/or planetarium.

    Open every day of the year except Christmas - see website for hours and other info; prices above were current in 2011 so check those as well.

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  • rmjiv's Profile Photo

    Fishy Fishy Fishy

    by rmjiv Updated Aug 16, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Jellyfish!
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    One of the highlights of our trip was our visit to the Shedd Aquarium. At 5 million gallons, the Shedd Aquarium is still one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world and is Chicago's most popular attraction. The Shedd has solid collection of aquatic life forms, from Beluga whales to penguins. When we went they were having a special exhibit of jellyfish that was fascinating.

    The Oceanarium gets much of the attention - for good reason. I expected the show to be fairly cheesy, but I was pleasantly surprised by how entrancing the dolphins were. Don't skip it. Also take the time to look at all of the other exhibits. They are both educational and entertaining. Especially well done was the docent talk during the feeding of the rotunda tank. All total we saw everything in around 5 hours.

    We went on a Wednesday, which during the summer is their special "Jazzin' at the Shedd" night. They stay open late that night and have live jazz on their terrace. Be warned that the terrace was crowded and the typical dress of those attending the jazz performance was not your typical tourist dress. You'll feel under dressed if you're not in wearing slacks or a dress.

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Aquarium Galore

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 10, 2011
    the aquarium
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    providing an aquatic things to do in Chicago besided Lake Michigan and Chicago River

    hours:
    Monday through Friday: 9 am.– 5 p.m.
    Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m.– 6 p.m.

    Admission:

    Adults $8 (total experience: $ 32.95)
    Children $6 (total experience: $ 22.95)

    again you can just buy the Go Chicago Card to have a cheaper entrance and also savor 29 other Chicago Attractions.

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  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Shedd-A Water Delight

    by BruceDunning Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lake Shore Dr view
    1 more image

    Before other aquariums became popular, like the Atlanta one that we went to, this was the king. It was the idea of John Shedd, who ran Marshall Field department store who contributed $3 million in 1920's to make this the premier icon. It was the largest back in 1930 when it opened. Now it has 32,500 animals for view. It is a child interactive type now with the updates recently. Little changed until early 2000's and they just re-opened with upgrades in last couple of years. We could not spend time to go inside, but it used to be fantastic, and you could look into many small and quaint fish tanks of a great variety of them.
    Fee is $25 and it is located in the museum complex by Grant Park along the lake shore.

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  • John195123's Profile Photo

    All them wet anumals

    by John195123 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fish reflect
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    Located on the shores of one of them big lakes, Shedd Aquarium holds a heck of a lot of marine life. One of the draws, at least for families and kids is the diving show, where a diver gets in a glassed-in tank and feeds fish. Weee. Well, it's somewhat interesting to hear what they have to say, but if you can afford it, the real experience is much more interesting. If you can't, save up until you can. It's worth it.

    The aquarium has exhibits and animals from most of the worlds aquatic habitats, from sea horses to large snakes. I bet the snake would be so happy to get free...

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  • John195123's Profile Photo

    All them wet anumals

    by John195123 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Love!
    4 more images

    Located on the shores of one of them big lakes, Shedd Aquarium holds a heck of a lot of marine life. One of the draws, at least for families and kids is the diving show, where a diver gets in a glassed-in tank and feeds fish. Weee. Well, it's somewhat interesting to hear what they have to say, but if you can afford it, the real experience is much more interesting. If you can't, save up until you can. It's worth it.

    The aquarium has exhibits and animals from most of the worlds aquatic habitats, from sea horses to large snakes. I bet the snake would be so happy to get free...

    Five images.

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  • bladedragon's Profile Photo

    Fishy fishes

    by bladedragon Updated Apr 4, 2011
    Something smell fishy here...
    1 more image

    This aquarium was founded by a self-made millionaire, John G. Shedd.
    He decided that a world-class aquarium would be the most beneficial gift he could make to the city that had given him so much.
    He envisioned a stand-alone world's largest aquarium.
    Shedd Aquarium has been a Chicago icon and a leader in the zoo and aquarium profession for more than three-quarters of a century.

    Note:
    Between Sept. 2 and early summer 2009, the Oceanarium will be closed for a $50 million renovation that will be as breathtaking in scope as it is in speed.

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  • lisha74's Profile Photo

    Best of the museum-type attractions

    by lisha74 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Chicago has plenty of museums and attractions to choose from, but the Shedd Aquarium has been one of my favorites since I was a kid. Whatever you do, don't miss the dolphins and beluga whales - they live in a beautiful setting with floor to ceiling windows overlooking Lake Michigan.

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  • jls274's Profile Photo

    City Full of Sights!

    by jls274 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I recommend the Shedd Aquarium, Alder Planetarium, Industry and Natural History museums and the Sears Tower as "Must See" items. The Magnificent Mile is spectacular and you can plan to spend an entire day there if you want to shop.

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  • sunshine9689's Profile Photo

    Marine life

    by sunshine9689 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Shedd Aquarium. May 2007
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    Went there on the busiest day of a week - Saturday at 10am. Bought our tickets at the reception desk, no problem, even though it is recommended to buy them online in advance.
    The place was not too crowded for the first hour but we did have to go 15 minutes before the Dolphins presentation started to make sure we have good seats. The show was pretty boring (few jumps and mostly dolphins feeding) but I guess I should not expected much from 20 minutes marine life presentation.
    In general I`d give it 3 stars out of 5.
    PRICE:
    - 4D All-Access Pass is $27.50 for adults, $20.50 for kids/seniors (includes the Oceanarium, Wild Reef, Lizards and the Komodo King, Amazon Rising, the Caribbean Reef, Waters of the World and the new 4-D Special FX Theater, featuring SpongeBob SquarePants.);
    - All-Access Pass is $23 for adults, $16 for kids/seniors (includes all of the above with the exception of 4-D Special Thater);
    - Become a member and go for free. Individual memebership is $70;
    - Just Aquarium is $8 for adults, $6 for kids/seniors;
    - Wild Reef Mini Pass is $18 for adults, $14 for kids/seniors (includes entrance to Wild Reef, Waters of the World, Amazon Rising and the Caribbean Reef).

    NOTE: Residents of the city of Chicago receive a 25% discount on admission every day. Must present vaild ID.

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  • IrishFem's Profile Photo

    Shedd

    by IrishFem Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Outside the Shedd Aquarium
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    You could spend hours in here and still not see everything. This place is amazing and so big inside. When you enter you will be given a guide of what to see. This time round the place was packed for the holiday season (December) and the q's were very long.

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  • happyhourkid's Profile Photo

    Shedd Aquarium

    by happyhourkid Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    John G.Shedd Aquarium

    Chicago is home to many of the world's "largest things." So it is only fitting that our John G. Shedd Aquarium is the largest indoor aquarium in the world. The aquarium is surrounded by Museum Campus Chicago, which it shares with Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. The aquarium gets 2 million annual visits. It contains 8,000 animals of 650 species including fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians and insects.

    Shedd Aquarium was the gift of retail leader John G. Shedd, a protege of Marshall Field, to the city of Chicago. Construction was completed in 1929, with the first exhibits opening a year later. As one of the first inland aquariums in the world, Shedd had to rely on a custom-made railroad car, the Nautillus, for the transport of fish and seawater. The Nautillus lasted until 1959.

    In 1933, Chicago hosted its second world's fair, the Century of Progress. The fair was held very close to the aquarium, so it gained exposure to a large international crowd, and from there it gained its worldwide notoriety.

    The biggest event in Shedd's recent history was the opening of its "Oceanarium" in 1991. This is a large addition to the aquarium that features many marine mammals, including Pacific white-sided dolpins and belugas. The aquarium also boasts a number of sea otters; the core of this collection was a group rescued from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.

    The Shedd's newest exhibit is "Wild Reef - Sharks at the Shedd." Under construction from 2000 until its opening in 2003, "Wild Reef" attempts to recreate a Philippine coral reef complete with living coral, multiple species of fish and rays, and a collection of sharks. The main draw of this attraction is a 400,000 gallon shark tank with twelve foot high curved windows, allowing visitors a "divers-eye view."

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  • Martman's Profile Photo

    Shedd: Excellent Aquarium

    by Martman Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ~ Beautiful Entrance of this Great Aquarium ~
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    I visited this excellent Aquarium on both my Chicago visits. On both occasions, I am not one bit sorry!

    My theory is; aquariums cater for 2 types of people:

    1) Those who are knowledgeable about sea life.
    2)Those who are not knowledgeable about sea life.

    Either group will be fascinated in their own way!

    My highlight of the aquarium was the beluga Whales. The area was built so that close viewing is possible. On my second visit during August 2006, this section was closed as one of the Belugas had a baby. In that case, Beluga Congratulations!

    My camera takes terrible pictures throuth water, hence my VT pics are from outside the tanks!
    I can write plenty here, but best that you visit this aquarium yourself. If I visit Chicago again, I would without hesitation visit a third time!

    Click here to return to my Chicago Homepage.

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