Spotlight On: Shedd Aquarium

exterior main entrance of aquarium in Chicago On Nov. 2, 1927, the $3 million Shedd Aquarium was just starting to be built. After construction was completed on Dec. 19, 1929, one of the first inland aquariums in the world opened to the public on May 30, 1930. The aquarium was a gift of John G. Shedd to the city of Chicago. Sadly, he was not able to witness the opening, but his widow was the one to cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony.
As you may know, the Shedd Aquarium is home to thousands upon thousands of marine life. The aquarium contains more than 25,000 fish with 1,500 different species of fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians and insects. There are more than 32,000 different animals in this museum! At one time, the Shedd held the record for being the largest indoor aquarium in the world with 5 million gallons of water. The Shedd was also the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection.
Some of the major exhibits in the aquarium include the Amazon Rising, an 8,600-square-foot recreation of the Amazon River and surrounding jungle, which contains 250 different species, and the Caribbean Reef, a 90,000-gallon tank near the center of the first floor that features a diver interacting with the marine life while talking to visitors. Other major exhibits include the Abbott Oceanarium, Polar Play Zone, Waters of the World and the Wild Reef.
fish and coral at aquariumOne of the special exhibits going on now includes the Jellies, which was opened in the summer of 2011. While the exhibit was scheduled to end in May 2012, it was extended through 2014 due to popular demand.  There are many species of jellyfish shown in this exhibit, including the Atlantic Sea Nettle, Blue Blubber Jelly, Egg Yolk Jelly, Lion’s Mane, Moon Jelly, Purple Striped Sea Nettle, Umbrella Jelly and the Upside-down Jelly. The other special exhibit that is open now is the Stingray Touch. Opened on May 17, 2013, this exhibit contains both cownose rays and yellow spotted rays that the visitors are allowed to touch as they swim. This attraction is open seasonally from May through October.
One of the attractions that doesn’t feature marine life is the 4D Theater. This was opened in 2009 while they were renovating the Abbott Oceanarium. The 4D experience is a 3D film that also includes interactive seats, high-tech audio and elements like scents and bubbles, using nearly all of your five senses. Some of the films that have been shown include SpongeBob Squarepants, Planet Earth, Ice Age, Dora the Explorer and the Polar Express, making this a very kid-friendly and fun experience.
aquarium show
Visitors to The Shedd Aquarium can see some amazing live animal shows. These shows feature Beluga whales, sea lions and dolphins, which perform daily for an audience. You can witness beautiful creatures, feel the connection with the living world and share the responsibility we all have to care for the animals on this planet.
The aquarium also has an amazing rescue program. They say that their “animal care and veterinary teams apply their knowledge and skills to safely and expertly assist the wild counterparts of the species they know so well at Shedd”. The rescue program has responded when animals are in urgent need for nearly five decades. The overall goal of the Shedd Aquarium’s rescue program is to return the rescued animals to their home in the wild, although that is not always possible. Today, some of the aquarium’s most beloved animals were rescues.
The Shedd Aquarium is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m every day from Memorial Day through Labor Day. During the winter, the aquarium is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on the weekdays and 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on the weekends. Ticket prices vary based on which experience visitors choose. General admission is $8 per adult and $6 per child, but does not include admission to many of the special exhibits. The Shedd Pass is $30.95 for adults and $21.95 for children, while the Total Experience Pass is $39.95 for adults and $30.95 for children.
For more information on the Shedd Aquarium, visit