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Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

3.8
#1 of 12 in Zoos & Aquariums in Illinois
Zoo / Aquarium Nature / Park
Shedd Aquarium contains over 1,500 different species, including fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and insects. Opened in 1930, this venue was the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection. Located within walking distance of the city's natural history museum and planetarium, the aquarium draws over 2 million annual visitors. Highlights include an oceanarium designed to replicate the natural conditions of the waters off the northwestern coast of the U.S., containing beluga whales, white-sided dolphins, sea otters, and seals. You can also visit the shark exhibit, a replica of a Philippines reef ecosystem. Exhibits often sell out early in the morning, so ensure your entry by purchasing your tickets well in advance. Plan your visit to Shedd Aquarium and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Chicago trip itinerary builder.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
7,377 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • We had not been to the Shedd aquarium in such a long time that we thought it would be a new and neat experience. It is quite expensive but it is also very large. We got there right at 9am when it open...  more »
  • We spent around 3 hours here and saw the 4D movie and the dolphin show - it was pretty good, but the show was a bit corny. There is a fantastic array of fish and sea life on display in the aquarium an...  more »
  • Great stop to try and see but it is so ungodly crowded it takes away from a lot of the displays unfortunately.  more »
Google
  • First, there are many wonderful and amazing creatures to see in the different areas of the aquarium, including the Wild Reef and the dolphin show. That, of course, is the best part and the reason to visit. Second, expect to pay an arm and a leg to get in and see anything other than the basics. You can get a lower cost ticket, but that doesn't cover special areas or shows. We went with a member, so everything was covered. Look on the website beforehand so that you aren't surprised by the price. Third, if you have a stroller or are in a wheelchair, you can go through the accessible entrance. If not, you'll have to wait in a pretty long line for the main entrance and go up the front stairs. Lastly, bring you own food and drinks unless you want to fork over some more cash. They allow you to bring your own stuff, so no worries about that. Then you can sit in a cafeteria or in an outdoor seating area. Overall, you should definitely visit! Just be prepared for the cost.
  • Excellent experience. This is the most beautiful thing you'll see second to seeing these animals in their natural habitats. Ticket prices may seem a little high but it's well worth the money. You will see 4d movie, dolphin and whale show, many hands on experiences. We spent 5hrs there and could have done more! There is a food court... it's expensive for cafeteria food. The gift shop was cute and moderately priced.
  • When I visited this insane location on May 25, I didn't expect it to be a complete nightmare. I should've known better. After my extremely unpleasant visit to the Adler Planetarium, I decided to try to forget that by visiting the Aquarium. Big mistake. The moment I walked in, the presence of a giant squid behind the counter selling tickets should've been a warning sign. Instead of simply handing me a ticket, the monster used an extremely large and long tentacle to slap my hand with it, and another to latch onto my shoulder. When it detached, it was quite painful because of the suction cups. I mean ow, those things are powerful! As I walked away, it made crow noises, squawking at me as a taunt. Walking around the aquarium, all of the fish tanks merely contained globes. All of them. No fish, no people, just globes. Tons and tons of globes floating lifelessly in the water, along with the occasional piece of paper with bits of the constitution written on it. Make of that what you will. I went to the dolphin show, thinking that might be at least what it promised, but nope. One of the dolphins in the tank flew out of the water, through the glass, and swam out to Lake Michigan. The others morphed into giant leeches and started drinking people's blood and causing them to pass out as everyone else in the audience cheered. I got out before I could be another victim. I took one last look at the diver tank before leaving, but what took place in there was anything but ordinary: The five divers were licking the glass, and their bodies were masses of human flesh-colored tentacles. One of them began to tell the story of the fish people living in the Chicago sewers, whom are responsible for keeping it clean. Obviously, they're not working because some of the smells downtown were horrid. I left, once again disappointed by a Chicago staple that everyone else loves for some reason.
  • Buy your tickets online at least a day in advance, or be there at least 15 minutes before the doors open to line up to buy your tickets. This is a great aquarium. I really appreciate that you are given a set time for the show and movie. This way you are guaranteed a spot and won't be told it's full. There is a lot to see and do, so plan on 3-4 hours here. You can get pretty up close to everything, and it is very, very kid friendly. You can even bring your own food, and I recommend you do that rather than buying lunch here. Consider taking a water taxi from here to Navy Pier when you are done.
  • I visited this restaurant last week and I couldn't believe all the choices there were. Huge tanks of fish and other sea creatures. It was like the front of a Red Lobster where they have a tank of live lobsters to choose from, only 100,000 times as big with much more than just lobster. I placed my order at the ticket booth for a 25 lb. dolphin, well done. So I proceeded to walk to the area where the dolphins are, amazed at all the other beautiful water animals they had on display. I sat down, fully prepared for my meal. I got a bottle of water and a fork. Then the waiters came out in the water with the dolphins. They put on a great show! I assumed this was some kind of ritual done before the sacrifice. However, after several complaints, I never received the 25 lb. dolphin I ordered. 4 stars for not delivering my meal, but this was a fantastic sea food place for anyone with a big appetite. I just hope management figures out a better way to deliver the meals to customers. I actually noticed that NOBODY was eating any sea food the day I went.

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