By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — As Chicago moves into Phase 5 in its COVID-19 reopening, the Shedd Aquarium will likewise fully reopen with more opportunities for visitors to come face-to-face with aquatic animals.

The Shedd will also be bringing back tactile experiences in phases, so that visitors can discover the textures of creatures such as sturgeons and sea stars. Stingray feedings and the Octopus: Blue Planet II 4D Experience are also on tap.

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“It is thrilling to reach this historic moment where together we can Open Chicago,” Meghan Curran, chief marketing and experience officer at Shedd Aquarium, said in a news release. “We have worked hard throughout the pandemic to serve communities as a resource for extended learning, joy and respite and now look forward to bringing summer back in a big way for more guests. We are committed to doing our part to contribute to the economic and social recovery of our city and state.”

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The Shedd is also one of five Chicago institutions that will stay open late on Friday to welcome back visitors as the state fully reopens. It will be open until 9 p.m. that night – with special popup animal encounters and live music on outdoor terraces.

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Some public health guidelines remain in place at the Shedd, though they are regularly being updated. For one, guests still must by tickets in advance and select a time to enter so as to reduce wait times. Vaccinated visitors no longer need to wear masks, but they are still strongly recommended for those who are not vaccinated or who are at high risk.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff