By Lauren Wulf
As one of Chicago’s top cultural attractions, the Shedd sees daily visitors from Chicago and all over the world. Whether you were there 5 years ago or 5 months ago, there’s always something new to see and explore.
Travel through Waters of the World – rivers and reefs, Great Lakes and the global ocean. Take a tour of the water planet or take the kiddos to play in Polar Play Zone and be sure to catch the Shedd’s aquatic show.
Below are some new exhibits and old favorites for 2013.
See amazing dolphins and belugas in the Shedd’s new aquatic show. The marine mammal presentations have showcased the awesome natural talents and learned skills of the animals – and their trainers. With enhancements made to the Abbott Oceanarium’s amphitheater, there’s always something new and improved to see.
Watch out for anacondas, piranhas, spiders, rays and more of the exotic creatures found in the Amazon. In the exhibit, Amazon Rising, river channels, lakes and even flooded treetops are on display. It’s pretty fascinating to learn how the region adapts to the water’s annual rise and fall.
This exhibit is set up as a 90,000-gallon circular habitat. The huge glass display gives you a feeling of being under water and in the action. If you’re really feeling dangerous, go eye-to-eye with a shark (through the glass of course!). The view up with reefs, sharks and fish swimming around you is quite an amazing sight to see.
Extended through 2013, the Shedd Aquarium Jellies have staying power. This dazzling display has been a part of the Shedd’s special exhibit and will continue through 2013. Watching these exotic creatures move through the water it’s easy to see why Chicagoans and tourists come back again and again.
The Abbott Oceanarium brings beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, sea otters and sea lions to the Windy City. Learn about how freshwater flows into the ocean or where tides turn seascapes to landscapes and back again each day. Use the Shedd’s self-guided map to get the most out of your visit.
Polar Play Zone
After a long day of learning, you and the kids will be ready to let off some steam and run around. In the Polar Play Zone, you can play penguin and explore the belugas’ Arctic waters in a kid-sized submarine. Unfortunately for parents, the submarine is kid-sized, only!
Waters of the World
The Waters of the World exhibit lets you travel the world in 80 habitats. Explore lakes, rivers, ponds and more. Meet hundreds of amazing animals, from tiny frogs to a giant octopus. They even have map turtles, in case you get lost.
Dive in to the Wild Reef and get a diver’s-eye view of this colorful habitat. You can get as close as you want to sharks, explore underwater gardens of corals, garden eels and more. Wander through a lagoon and visit a fishing village where residents saved their reef from destruction—all in this award-winning exhibit.
More Fun With Jazzin’ at the Shedd
Enjoy spectacular skyline views, live music, fireworks and cocktails. Then visit 32,500 of animals and exhibits, including Jellies.
Wednesday evenings, June 19 through Sept. 4, enjoy summer in Chicago at its best.
You can hear some of the finest musicians in the city, from jazz to funk, while enjoying beverages, lake breezes and the skyline from the terraces at the Shedd. The Shedd also provides the perfect location to see the fireworks at Navy Pier.
Take advantage of the Shedd’s extended hours to visit with your favorite animals: the Abbott Oceanarium, Jellies special exhibit and Polar Play Zone will be open until 8 p.m., Wild Reef will be open until 9 p.m., and the aquarium galleries, along with the terraces, will stay open until 10 p.m.
While Jazzin’ at the Shedd is free for members, all are welcome to attend.
Lauren Wulf, CBS Chicago