Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is consistently rated as one of the best American aquariums. Its award-winning status is partially based on its superb assortment of diverse animals, approximately 32,000. The entire collection is housed in a modern facility that caters to the needs of its inhabitants.
It is conveniently located near the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium and Soldier Field. Due to this location, one can tour one place in the morning and another in the afternoon.
Since the original building opened in 1930, the facility has expanded twice. These additions have allowed the aquarium to maintain its exemplary status and to drastically increase its marine inhabitants. Visitors will be overwhelmed by the assortment of species.
Unlike most aquariums that are adjacent to a saltwater ocean or sea, the Shedd Aquarium’s backyard is Lake Michigan. Despite this logistical shortcoming, the aquarium chose to become the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater exhibit.
After exiting the main lobby and entering the main part of the aquarium, visitors can explore various categories—rivers, islands and lakes, Great Lakes, oceans, Amazon, and amphibians. Slightly off the beaten track, one can find the Wild Reef, Abbott Oceanarium and the Polar Play Zone that includes an underwater viewing area. The clear signage provides few chances to get lost. A colorful map can help you locate specific places of interest.
Animal lovers will be thrilled with the enormous selection of animals that inhabit Earth’s waters and the tidbits of information that are included in the visual displays. Nature photographers should be ready for nonstop action. Young and old will find their favorite animals and gawk at the rare and unfamiliar.
Before you go
Check out the Shedd Aquarium’s website and consider buying your tickets online. Be aware that there are less options available online. One option allows you to receive a discount if you purchase at least a day in advance while a pricier selection avoids the ticket line that may on some days stretch outside.
Out-of-town visitors may also be able to get hotel packages that include tickets to the Shedd Aquarium as well as other Chicago attractions.
If you’re traveling with kids, look over the Ten Fund Finds maps and decide if you want your aquarium visit to have a special theme.
A CityPASS can in some instances be beneficial. The pass includes visits to the Shedd Aquarium, the Skydeck Chicago, the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the 360 Chicago, the Adler Planetarium, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Nearby parking garages charge a significant fee. It is best to avoid days when the Chicago Bears are playing at next-door Soldier Field.
Do you enjoy travel articles? To receive email alerts when new travel articles are available, click on the “subscribe” button above.