A stones throw away from the Field Museum of Natural History is The Shedd Aquarium, Opened on May 30, 1930 The Shedd aquarium or John G. Shedd aquarium inspired to be a world class aquarium or aquatic museum. It Showcases the best of early 20th-century “age of aquariums” characteristics—a diverse, global animal collection surrounded by eye-popping architecture—with 21st-century advances in animal care, environments and interpretation. Excellence and innovation are Shedd traditions, and they began with the founder.
The Shedd family is responsible for Chicago having one of the Biggest and Best Aquariums anywhere. Located within walking distance of The Field museum, Adler's planetarium and the Art institute of Chicago.
I LOVE the detail work in the architecture, sea creatures are carved into the marble interior of the Aquarium and give you plenty to look at while standing in line for tickets, Once passed the ticket counter I am off to explore, starting with the Amazon rising exhibit, here live rainforest dwelling monkeys, reptiles and frogs. Giant Tanks filled with Piranhas, Arapaima and even a green Anaconda who measures over 14 feet long.
The unique Mata Mata turtle swims around its tank, blending in with tree roots. The Mata Mata is one of 23 different turtle and tortoise species at Shedd.
The Oceans exhibit is next and one of my favorite sea creatures is on display the Giant pacific octopus. Several tentacle covered legs can be seen while the rest of the octopus hides in a rock formation. The Giant pacific octopus is one of the most intelligent creatures alive. A 50lb octopus can squeeze through an opening only 2 inches wide, It can open bottles to retrieved fish from inside and is a master at hide and go seek. They can adapt their color and texture to match they surroundings.
The tank next to the octopus holds another ocean dweller, a Giant Japanese spider crab. This crab is indeed a Giant. These crabs can have a leg span of up to 12 feet and weigh as much as 42lbs and live in water depths of 2000ft.
The Seahorse and Seadragon gallery is next, The Shedd aquarium breeds most of it's own Seahorses, Seadragons and pipefish. All of which are on display in large tube shaped tanks. These fascinating creatures bring my childhood daydreams alive, as I once remember my mom claiming they were not real and then seeing her amazement when we visited another Aquarium and and they had seahorses and Seadragons on display.
I wonder to the next exhibit located near by, the At home on the great lakes exhibit. Here Fish from around the great lakes can be seen such as the The lake sturgeon and invaders of the great lake the sea lamprey and Asian carp. A touch pool in the middle of the hall allows visitors to have a hands on encounter with Lake sturgeons.
The Abbott Oceanarium is next, I happed to time it right as this is when the Beluga whales are being worked with by their trainers. I find a perfect spot to take pictures and video and watch the pure white belugas. These are beautiful whales and trained with positive training methods. Meaning they are never punished only praised and given food rewards when they do the right commands.
The Sea lions are just across the pathway and lounge in their area, The difference between Sea lions and Seals are Sea lions have larger front flippers and small flaps covering their ears.
To see the penguins and The Pacific whited-sided dolphins I have to venture through the polar play zone. Here I can watch the dolphins swim and TRY to take pictures. They are fast moving and glide past the huge glass windows without care.
With lots of time left before the finale Aquatic show, I decide to go explore the rest if the Aquarium. Two near -by exhibit halls are the Islands and lakes habitats and the rivers habitats. Brightly colored fish swim here. Also on display is one of the world’s rarest iguana species, found on one rocky desert islet in the Bahamas, The blue iguana named Bob.
In The rivers habitat lives Granddad, an Australian lungfish and the oldest living fish of any aquarium in the world. He was brought to Shedd in 1933, makeing him the most senior resident in the building and the longest-lived of his species—or any fish species—in any aquarium in the world.
I decide to visit the Wild reef next and see the Sharks and stingrays. A path leads through an interesting
room made to look like a huge coral reef, Large tanks with Nautilus, Garden and Moray eels, Live corals and Lionfish come into view, Tanks with more brightly colors fish and corals come one after another until I am standing front of a large glass tunnel and watching sharks swim over head and in front of me. The wild Reef is home to several sharks including Bonnethead sharks( the smallest of the hammerheads) Zebra sharks known for their intelligent and ease of training and Bamboo sharks.
I head back to the Oceanarium to watch the Aquatic show and capture pictures of Leaping dolphins, slow spinning Beluga whales and playful Sea lions. As I head for the exit, I stop at the Pritzker Caribbean reef and a stingray with a cute almost smile swims to eye level and seems to pose just briefly for it's picture to be taken. It repeats this several times and I take it's picture. It gracefully swims away and I am I left smiling.
For more information to plan your trip to Shedd Aquarium please visit www.sheddaquarium.org/
1200 S Lake Shore Dr,
Chicago, IL 60605
Summer hours (Memorial Day-Labor Day)
Weekdays: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Weekends: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Adult $94 Child $79
Save 50% off Chicago’s 5 best attractions, plus skip lines. Chicago CityPASS includes immediate VIP entry to Shedd Aquarium, including all exhibits and a special FX 4-D Experience (ticket value $37.50). The aquatic show can be added for $2 a person. Valid 9-days.
Adult $54.95 Child $40.95
On busy days when there's a long admission line, express entry is available for purchase. The Express Pass allows you to bypass the ticket line and begin your visit. The pass, sold for same-day admission, includes everything Shedd has to offer, including the aquatic show, Stingray Touch and a 4-D Experience.
Total Experience Pass
Adult $39.95 Child $30.95
The best value to see everything Shedd has to offer! Select your show times and plan your day in advance. The Total Experience Pass includes access to all of Shedd’s exhibits and experiences, including the aquatic show, Stingray Touch and a 4-D Experience. For best availability, we recommend you plan at least 5 days in advance.