Guide to Chicago's Shedd Aquarium for Chicago Visitors from Chicago Traveler

Chicago Skyline with Shedd Aquarium

The World's Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium in Chicago Illinois

Shedd Aquarium in Chicago Illinois

Billed as one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world, the Shedd Aquarium Chicago is home to over 1,500 species of fish and mammals. Vastly different parts of aquatic life await you at Shedd Aquarium’s five major attractions:

  • Caribbean Reef
  • Waters of the World
  • Amazon Rising
  • Wild Reef
  • Oceanarium

During your visit you’ll find creatures from every region on Earth, living in re-creations of their natural habitats. There is so much to explore at Shedd Aquarium that you’ll be drenched with delight by the time you leave.

Caribbean Reef Exhibit

Caribbean Reef will catch your eye from the moment you enter, so stop by and indulge your curiosity.

Witness the most assorted collection of oceanic life in this 90,000 gallon “fish tank”. The circular design of Caribbean Reef provides views from every angle, and the panels located above will help you identify each animal. Several times a day divers at this Chicago aquarium submerge themselves to feed sharks, stingrays and turtles, while simultaneously answering guest's questions. While Caribbean Reef is not the biggest attraction, it provides a place to rest later on in the day, and with its central location, becomes a good meeting point should groups get separated.

Waters of the World Exhibit

If you have ever wanted to visit the frozen waters of Northern Alaska or the tropical waters of Northern Australia, now’s your chance. The Waters of the World covers roughly ½ of the upper level of the Chicago Shedd Aquarium, and there are over 75 distinct habitats on display. This exhibit is broken into four main sections: Rivers, Islands and Lakes, Local Waters, and Oceans, and contains over 300 species of fish, plus iguanas, river otters and lobsters.

Amazon Rising Exhibit

Step inside the rain forests of South America and see how the lives of all living things are affected when water levels rise to unbelievable new heights. The motto for Amazon Rising is “Brought to you by the Floods” and it’s easy to understand why when you learn that the rain forests get over 9 feet of rain per year (Chicago gets just under 3 feet). Shedd Aquarium Chicago's Amazon Rising is dedicated to showcasing the various stages of flooding and how animals like snakes, poisonous frogs and tarantulas adapt to the growing waters. Amazon Rising is the most cleverly executed exhibit at Shedd Aquarium and is worth an in-depth look.

Hotels near The Shedd Aquarium Chicago

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JW Marriott Chicago
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HI-Chicago - a Chicago Hostel
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Club Quarters Chicago
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Restaurants near The Shedd Aquarium Chicago

Attractions near The Shedd Aquarium Chicago

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Shedd Aquarium Located in Grant Park Grant ParkCulturalMuseumSights of Chicago

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Field Museum Chicago Located in Near South Museum

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Art Institute of Chicago Located in Grant Park ArtsyCulturalHistoricMuseumSights of Chicago

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Adler Plantearium Located in Near South
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Chicago Pass to the City Located in The Loop MuseumSights of Chicago

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Chicago Museum Pass Located in Grant Park ArtsyGrant ParkCulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricMuseumSights of Chicago

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*Terms & Conditions: Offers, promotions and rates subject to change and may vary based upon date, length of stay and other factors. Some offers do not include taxes and fees. All offers based on availability and are subject to change without notice.

Wild Reef Exhibit

Japanese Sea Spider at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago IL

Japanese Sea Spider at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago IL

Coral reefs are considered the oasis of the ocean because they are extremely beneficial to the lives of fish, mammals and even humans. The main job of these tiny animals is to provide food, shelter and protection for the creatures that make a reef their home. In Shedd Aquarium's Wild Reef exhibit, guests will get to experience life as coral through the use of interactive displays and a little bit of imagination. See how they start as tiny polyps the size of grains of sand and grow to coral colonies that cover hundreds of square miles of ocean floor. There are also more than two dozen sharks lurking in this massive 400,000 gallon network.

Oceanarium Exhibit

Dolphin Show at the Shedd Aquarium

Dolphin Show at the Shedd Aquarium

After you have come up for air, plunge into the Oceanarium to the see biggest jumpers, the biggest jokers, and by far the biggest animals at Chicago Shedd Aquarium.

This marine palace boasts over 3,000,000 gallons of saltwater, making it one of the largest indoor marine mammal habitat in the world. Divided into several areas, the Oceanarium has animals that have elegance, agility and even a sense of humor. In Secluded Bay you’ll encounter Beluga Whales, and while weighing in at 3,000 pounds, Belugas are some the most agile swimmers in the ocean. The underground viewing area lets you see how these mammals glide gracefully below the surface.

Also underground is Penguin Shore, where you can watch not one, but two, species of these flightless birds waddle along the rocks and frolic in the water. If you see one of the penguin staffers, ask them if you can feel real penguin feathers.

Marine Mammal Presentation

The one show that should be at the top of everyone’s list when they visit this Chicago aquarium is the Marine Mammal Presentation. Pacific White-Sided Dolphins (and their trainers) are the stars of this spectacular show. The trainers demonstrate how the dolphins are taught to perform tricks using whistles, positive reinforcement and a lot of fish. These behind-the-scenes glimpses prove to be the highlight of the show, while the finale, with some extra surprises, provides the crowning touch to this must-see attraction.

Parking

Shedd Aquarium Chicago is located on Museum Campus. Parking at the Chicago aquarium is $16 for the first 4 hours, and $19 for up to 12 hours. On weekends, guests have the option of using the valet parking service for $25.

Dining

Chicago with Shedd Aquarium from Lake Michigan

Chicago with Shedd Aquarium from Lake Michigan

There are a variety of delicious dining options at Shedd Aquarium Chicago, and with so many different choices, there's sure to be something for everyone.

  • Bubble Net: For the landlubbers in your group, Bubble Net offers Pizza Hut pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and salads.
  • Soundings Cafe: Fresh seafood is the catch of the day at Soundings. Besides featuring first rate table side service, the menu includes many varieties of fish; wine and cocktails are available.
  • Deep Ocean Cafe: Featuring a child-friendly menu of mac n' cheese, hot dogs, and slushies, the Deep Ocean Cafe will bring out the kid in anyone.