There is something about life under the sea that is mysterious to us, but a visit to the Chicago Shedd Aquarium can open your eyes and take you on an adventure down under. There are 22,000 different aquatic animals to look at in the largest indoor aquarium in the world. You could visit the oldest aquatic animal in a public aquarium, an Australian lungfish named Granddad who is 80 years old, or 25 sharks in the newest exhibit Wild Reef. If sitting down to enjoy a show and the beautiful views of Lake Michigan might be your style, then I suggest buying a ticket to see the newest program, Fantasea.
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
Sept. 7 – Dec. 24, 2010
Weekdays: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Weekends: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Check back on their website to see the calendar for the day you are visiting.
Shedd Pass – Adults: $26.95 Children (3-11): $19.95
(Includes: Abbott Oceanarium and Polar Play Zone, Wild Reef, Amazon Rising, Carribean Reef and Waters of the World)
Add $2 per ticket for an aquatic show. Show tickets are only sold at the Shedd box office.
If you’re a Chicago Resident with proof of residency, receive a discount of $3 off admission ticket prices.
Continue to check their website for their Community Discount Days, where admission is free to most of the Shedd Aquarium except for a few exhibits that have a discounted rate for the day. http://www.sheddaquarium.org/discounts.html
Where to Stay
720 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
Stay in a landmark Chicago hotel with views of Grant Park, Museum Campus and Lake Michigan. They offer a Shedd Aquarium package where you can receive 38% off regular ticket prices. The package includes VIP tickets to the Shedd and overnight accommodations.
500 S. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60605
Another choice for a South Loop hotel, this luxurious spot offers two different packages for your stay that can include a visit to the aquarium.
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
540 N. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
Located on the Mag Mile, this hotel is surrounded by top Chicago restaurants and places to shop. They too, have a Shedd Aquarium package that includes overnight accommodations and VIP tickets.
Where to Eat at the Shedd
Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
This is a new café with a wholesome menu for everyone. They offer salads, wraps and sandwiches made with organic, locally grown ingredients. They also offer a children’s menu.
Every day, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The revamped food court features a menu with something for everyone in your family. From personal-sized pizzas to vegetarian dishes like falafel on pita, you’re bound to find something that will feed your hunger.
Deep Ocean Café
This café is located in the Polar Play Zone and caters to kids, or adults who want to feel like a kid again. From hot dogs, to mac and cheese, to slushies and even Dippin Dots and Mrs. Field’s cookies they have all the kiddie favorites.
How to get to the Fishes
From Lake Shore Drive, exit at 18th Street. Take Museum Campus Drive around Solider Field. There will be signs for visitor parking. Another option is to take McFetridge Drive from Lake Shore Drive and this will link you to the street meter parking by the Shedd Aquarium and the Alder Planetarium.
For more details on where to park visit: http://www.sheddaquarium.org/getting_to_shedd.html
If you’re staying downtown, this is the best option to get to the aquarium and also the cheapest. The CTA #146 bus runs all year around and until 10:30 p.m. The bus runs along State Street downtown and North Michigan Avenue.
This option is only during the warmer months, but the Shoreline Water Taxi service operates between Navy Pier and the Museum Campus. This can be can be another reasonably priced and scenic option between May and September.
Rachel Azark is a writer and lives on Chicago’s northwest side. Read more of her work on her blog parksandpancakes.com.