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10 Tips to Help You Plan a Fantastic Trip to Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

10 Tips to Help You Plan a Fantastic Trip to Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

TripBlog
Sep 20, 20193500

Chicago or the Windy City is a major converging point for international trade, finance, technology, culture, commerce and tourism in the United States. It is also the second most visited city in the United States after New York. The city attracts 50 million tourists every year and boasts of modernised tourist locations like Shedd Aquarium, Millennium Park, and Willis Tower Observation Deck.

Table of Contents

1. Getting to the Shedd Aquarium
2. Best time to reach Shedd Aquarium
3. Shedd Aquarium Ticket Prices
4. Chicago City Pass
5. Exhibits and Attractions
6. 4- D Experience
7. Food and Eateries in Shedd Aquarium
8. Shopping at Shedd Aquarium
9. Shedd Aquarium Free Days
10. Discounts, Add-ons and Other Useful Tips

With 2.5 million visitors a year on an average, Shedd Aquarium stands as the most visited aquarium in the United States. Shedd Aquarium was gifted by a retail leader John G Shedd to the city, in the year 1930 and cost around 3 million USD. It has been designated as National Historic Landmark since 1987 and has received major awards for best exhibits. The Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising are few of the many awarded exhibits of Shedd Aquarium. Currently the Shedd Aquarium holds 32,000 animals and is one of largest indoor facilities in the world.

Shedd Aquarium provides various interactive experiences, and packages for its visitors round the year. The below guide will help you with all the details one needs while planning a visit to Shedd Aquarium.

1. Getting to the Shedd Aquarium

Chicago has a very robust public transportation and getting to Shedd Aquarium will be anything but trouble. Number of buses ply from various locations and the Metra Commuter Rail network is equally useful. Please ensure to board buses heading to Museum Campus. Once you have reached the Museum Campus, the Shedd Aquarium is just a 10 minute walk.

In case you are visiting by car or personal conveyance, you can book your parking slots in advance as well to save money. The Shedd Aquarium offers valet parking on weekends as well for around 20 USD. They don't have a dedicated parking area for aquarium visitors, but various parking lots are available around the Museum Park.

2. Best time to reach Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium is one the most beloved tourist spots in Chicago.The aquarium reserves fixed number of entries for a day. It is strongly suggested to visit the spot before 9 AM to avoid queues. There are faster entries for those who have purchased tickets in advance online. When you arrive at Shedd Aquarium, ask for Shedd Staff Member to help with the faster entry.

10 Tips to Help You Plan a Fantastic Trip to Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

3. Shedd Aquarium Ticket Prices

The Shedd Aquarium ticket schemes vary based on General Admission or a Chicago resident admission.

General Admission

Adults: 39.95 USD, KIDS (3-11): 29.95 USD

Chicago Residents

Adults : 19.95 USD, KIDS (3-11): 14.95 USD

You can avail exciting offers in case you are visiting in larger groups. You can call the aquarium helpline to enquire about ticket prices for groups.

Visitors can also upgrade to bonus 4-D experience for 4.95 USD. For existing members, the upgrade will cost 2.95 USD.

4. Chicago City Pass

If you plan to visit the 5 major tourist attractions in Chicago including Shedd Aquarium, Chicago City Pass saves more than 50% on all premium entries. The City Pass apart from Shedd Aquarium can fetch entries to Chicago Skydeck, Filed Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Chicago Observation Deck. For as low as 108 USD all five top attractions are accessible with a 9 consecutive day validity on the pass. This gives an added advantage of not locking down on the day of visit. City Pass holders can enjoy all permanent exhibits, special summer exhibits and the 4-D experience.

10 Tips to Help You Plan a Fantastic Trip to Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

5. Exhibits and Attractions

All permanent exhibits and corners of the Shedd Aquarium offer a host of aquatic life to be experienced for all age groups. You can spend an entire day and still miss out on a few that the aquarium has to offer. Let's have a look the main floor and add on exhibits in Shedd aquarium-

.Caribbean Reef- One of the first permanent exhibits, Caribbean Reef was set up in 1971, with a 90,000 US gallon central water tank and offers maximum walk viewing. There are diving sessions between 12 PM to 3 PM every day. The Caribbean Reef is home to rescued green turtle, the beautiful bright eyed Nickel, stingrays,bonnethead sharks and many more. You can even book a special message like "Happy Birthday" for your loved ones. The Shedd divers can help you by holding the personal message while surrounded by stingrays,the popular sea turtle- Nickel, and many more colourful reef fishes. A digital photo is also shared to keep a count of the many beautiful memories. It must be booked 48 hours in advance and will cost 125 USD.

.Waters of the World- This is one of the oldest permanent exhibits in the Shedd Aquarium and boasts of close to 70 aquatic habitats of the world from oceans, rivers and tropical wetlands. These include starfish, seahorses, spider crabs, blue iguana and giant Pacific Octopus.

.Amazon Rising- This exhibit circles close to 8600 sqft and gives a walk-through forest recreation, provides insight on how life and creatures adapt to rising and falling water levels in the Amazon. The exhibit contains catfish, piranhas, freshwater stingrays and anacondas. The exhibit also shows how homes are built around Amazon to withstand heavy floods. Visitors can experience multiple life forms here and be amazed with colourful tropical species like Wattled Jacana, White-Faced Whistling Duck, Brazilian Teal, Red Bellied Piranha, Green Anacondas and Amazon Milk Frogs.

10 Tips to Help You Plan a Fantastic Trip to Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

.Wild Reef- An award winning exhibit set up in 2003, the Wild Reef gives a glimpse of recreating the Philippine Coral Reef. The exhibit covers the diverse life forms in the reef including sandbar, saw-fish, incognito frog-fish and collection of sharks. The recreated section also offers a round tank which gives a diver's eye view to the entire section. Coral Reefs are very important to the sea ecosystem in South East Asia and Shedd Aquarium is dedicated in conserving coral reefs round the world. The financial resources through multiple programmes around the world are being utilised to save coral reefs and raise awareness among visitors and tourists. Few of the animals one can come across in this exhibit are Clownfish, Honeycomb Moray,Porcupine Fish, Moon Jelly, Japanese Wobbegong, Humphead Wrasse and Mandarin Dragonet.

.Abbott Oceanarium- It includes a host of water mammals including dolphins, sea lions, penguins and belugas. One would be delighted to see the Pacific Costal life forms. It is the largest indoor marine mammal facility in the world and has the largest single water tank. The lower level allows one to see the underwater view of the dolphins. While you experience host of activities in the Oceanarium, take a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan. The Oceanarium offers encounters with Belugas, Dolphins and Penguins where under trained supervision, visitors can touch the animals, play with them, watch them perform some‘’Awww “dropping moments. You can even pre book a special message or pop the question to your special someone clipped and bought by the belugas. These are some of the great activities for kids and to help them appreciate all forms of life. All of these are included in the general admission ticket except the special message activity. You can even choose to adopt a beluga or penguin and get a certificate for it by donating in the range of 75 USD. This includes an animal soft toy, a digital photo of the adopted animal as well. Cheaper donation plans are available too.

.Polar Play Zone- This section is the top attraction for kids visiting Shedd Aquarium. Kids can slip into penguin suits and explore the Icy South play area. They can use a small submarine and get an interactive experience of how life in the North and South Poles are, and get to know how distinct the sea species are there. It is also home to Magellanic and Rockhopper Penguins, Sea Otters, Dolphins and Belugas.There is also an underwater viewing gallery.

10 Tips to Help You Plan a Fantastic Trip to Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

.Underwater Beauty- Marine life has plenty of colours and Underwater Beauty was set up as a special exhibit in 2018, to offer spectacular visual experience to its visitors. It believes in saving the beauty while preserving rare creatures of the sea and fresh waters. You can see three sections- "Colours","Patterns" and "Rhythms". It features close to 100 different species like Ribbon Eel, Flower Hat Jelly, Purple Tang, Lined Seahorse, Lagoon Jelly, Discus, Moorish Idol and Pyramid Butterflyfish.

.Aquatic Presentations- Within the Oceanarium, trained professionals perform some scintillating acts with Pacific White-Sided dolphins. Guests learn about animal interaction with humans and better understand their anatomy under some beautifully choreographed flash lights.

6. 4- D Experience

The 4-D experience is available on the same floor as of Oceanarium. It's a really good experience for kids. One can feel water sprays, shaking seats and bubble during this 15 minute experience. There are hourly shows on kid friendly 3 D animations, sea monsters and on extended days there are two additional shows as well till 6 p.m.

Warning - 4-D experience is only recommended for kids above 4 years of age.People with heart condition and who are sensitive to lights, laser projections and loud sound are suggested to avoid going for the 4-D experiences in the Shedd Aquarium.

7. Food and Eateries in Shedd Aquarium

While strolling around the Shedd Aquarium and experiencing the excitement inside, your stomach will definitely be grumbling. So check out the various dining options at the Shedd Aquarium-

.Soundings Cafe- Opens at 9 AM and offers a line of Starbucks coffee and beverages. Do indulge in the freshly baked pastries and sandwiches.

.Bubble Net Food court- The year round food courts offers pizzas, burritos, salads, burgers and has a family friendly menu. It opens at 11 AM and shuts down 2 hours before closing.

.Deep Ocean Cafe- It is a seasonal cafe and located in the Polar Play Zone. One can munch on Hot dogs, Dippin Dots and some Popcorn.

.Soundings Restaurant- This restaurant offers the best view of the town. The ingredients are seasonally and locally grown. Make sure to indulge in fresh grilled burgers, fresh wraps and salads while enjoying the terrace outdoor view.

Visitors can also bring their own brown bags packed lunch and save some money. There are outdoor garden tables and a Marine Munchroom which has tables and chairs to enjoy your home cooked food. There is a Popcorn kiosk and the Marine Munchroom which also offers fridges and vending machines to buy packaged meals.

8. Shopping at Shedd Aquarium

There is something for everyone at gift shops in Shedd Aquarium. Soft toys, merchandise, apparels are part of the exciting range available at the aquarium. They have toys made from recycled materials and have a range of reusable products. You can purchase bags, goodies, water bottles, thermoses which are great alternatives to single use items. The entire billing is non-profit in nature and all contribution goes to Shedd's missions. So go ahead and carry a memory back home..!!

9. Shedd Aquarium Free Days

Free days is a blockbuster day at Shedd Aquarium where every family member who is a legal resident of the state of Illinois gets a free entry, The entry queue is insanely long on free days stretching all the way till the Museum Park. It's a great initiative where every family member can visit the Shedd Aquarium and have countless memories.

10 Tips to Help You Plan a Fantastic Trip to Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

10. Discounts, Add-ons and Other Useful Tips

.Discounts-Students above the age of 12 with valid school IDs, Senior Citizens (65 ) with valid IDs and U.S Military veterans receive 3 USD on site discount on Shedd Aquarium tickets. Active duty U.S military personnel receive free entry to the aquarium; however dependents and family members are not part of the offer. Chicago Police and Fire fighters also receive free entry to the aquarium with valid IDs. None of the offers include 4-D experience and can be clubbed by paying additional 4.95 USD.

.Re-entries to the Shedd Aquarium- On a pleasant summer day, while you would like to take a walk in the Museum Park, any visitor has the privilege to walk out of the aquarium and re-enter if the ticket/pass is kept handy.

.Strollers- The Shedd Aquarium does not provide any stroller or wagons. It is suggested to carry a convertible umbrella stroller for easy walking through the stairs and crowded areas.

.Lockers- The Shedd Aquarium provide cash and card operated lockers to store valuables, personal belongings, coats since they don't offer any luggage checking.

.Taking Pictures- Carrying a camera is very much allowed in the aquarium. Be careful to not use flash and use it responsibly taking animal safety and comfort in mind. Tripods are strictly not allowed.

.Wheel Chairs- Wheel Chairs are available on first come first serve basis by providing a photo identification proof.

With much to offer, it can be safely concluded that Shedd Aquarium is a must visit place while one lands in Chicago. It will be a wonderful experience for everyone to witness underwater life and species and know them up-close.

Disclaimer: This article has been used directly from the Qingqi Qiu Platform, the copyright belongs to the original author. If there is any discrepancy with the copyright please contact us directly and we will immediately delete the content.Index for Network Information Infringement Protection
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