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Shedd Aquarium


Eel at the Shedd

Photo © Prescott Carlson

In Brief:

Built in 1930, the Shedd Aquarium is one of the premier aquariums in the country and home to an impressive collection of underwater life.

The Shedd Aquarium is included with the purchase of a Go Chicago Card. (Buy Direct)

The Shedd Aquarium is included with the purchase of a Chicago City Pass. (Buy Direct)


1200 South Lake Shore Drive



Getting There By Public Transportation:

  • By bus: south-bound CTA bus line #146 (Marine-Michigan)
  • By train: Red Line CTA train south to Roosevelt, then take a Museum Campus trolley or transfer to CTA bus #12

Driving From Downtown Chicago:

Lake Shore Drive (US 41) south to 18th Street. Turn left onto Museum Campus Drive and follow it around Soldier Field. Look for signs that will point you to the visitor parking garage. The Shedd Aquarium is just north of the parking garage and the Field Museum.

Parking at the Shedd Aquarium:

There are several lots on the Museum Campus, but most tend to fill up quickly and your best bet is in the main parking garage.

Aquarium Hours:

Weekdays 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Weekends 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Closed Christmas Day.

Aquarium Admission Prices:

  • Total Experience Pass (includes the main aquarium, the Oceanarium, 4-D Experience, aquatic show and the Wild Reef): Adults, $34.95. Children (ages 3-11), $25.95.
  • Shedd Pass Plus (includes general admission, 4-D Experience, Wild Reef, Oceanarium): Adults, $32.95. Children, $23.95.
  • Shedd Pass (includes general admission, Wild Reef, Oceanarium): Adults, $28.95. Children, $19.95.
  • Aquarium Only: Adults, $8. Children, $6.

(prices as of 07/2011, subject to change)

Shedd Aquarium Website

Shedd Aquarium Dos and Don'ts:

  • DO arrive before 9:30 a.m. to get the early bird parking rate and avoid long lines.
  • DO buy the All Access Pass if you can afford it.
  • DO find seating for the dolphin show at least 30 minutes early, especially on weekends.
  • DO eat lunch at Soundings, the Shedd's full service restaurant, the views and relaxing atmosphere make it worthwhile.
  • DON'T bring large strollers or bulky bags, it's hard to maneuver among the big crowds.
  • DON'T use flash photography or tripods, both of which are prohibited.

About the Shedd Aquarium:

More than three-quarters of a century ago, millionaire John G. Shedd wanted to give a grand gift to the city that he loved so much. After 7 years and $3 million (the equivalent of $35 million today), the Shedd Aquarium opened to the public. Since that time, the Shedd has added several permanent exhibits to the main aquarium, effectively doubling its size. The Shedd Aquarium is made up of these habitats:

Caribbean Reef
The centerpiece of the aquarium, the Caribbean Reef is a 90,000-gallon circular tank and filled with stingrays, sharks, eels, a sea turtle, and an assortment of tropical fish. A diver hand feeds the fish and answers questions (while underwater!) several times a day.

Waters of the World
As the name implies, this exhibit explores the world's various waterways in 90 habitats. There are thousands of animals from rivers, lakes, seas and oceans, like giant octopus, shrimp, bluegills, and moon jellies.

Amazon Rising
Did you know the Amazon is home to one-third of all living things on Earth? I didn't either until I visited this exhibit. Amazon Rising is teeming with life such as toxic frogs, huge spiders, piranhas, and an anaconda.

The Oceanarium aims to recreate the peaceful rain forest of the Pacific Northwest, and with its huge soaring windows overlooking Lake Michigan, you might actually believe you are on the ocean. The tidal pools and coves are also home to sea stars, otters, dolphins, and beluga whales.

Wild Reef
The Wild Reef features a huge display of live coral, and over two dozen sharks swimming in a 400,000-gallon habitat with tall windows that gives the visitor the feeling of an underwater experience.

So if you like fish and other aquatic wildlife (and who doesn't?), put the Shedd Aquarium high on your agenda when visiting Chicago.

View all the attractions at Chicago's Museum Campus

The Shedd Aquarium is included with the purchase of a Go Chicago Card. (Buy Direct)

The Shedd Aquarium is included with the purchase of a Chicago City Pass. (Buy Direct)

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