By Rachel Azark

Be one of the two million guests this year that visits the Shedd Aquarium, a national historic landmark. The aquarium, situated on the beautiful Lake Michigan lakefront, houses more than 32,500 animals. Spend a day learning about all sorts of animals that live in locations ranging from the Pacific Northwest to a Philippine coral reef.

(credit: John G. Shedd Aquarium)

Quick Facts


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: $28.95 Children (3-11): $19.95
(Includes: Abbott Oceanarium and Polar Play Zone, Wild Reef, Amazon Rising, Carribean Reef and Waters of the World)

Add $4 per ticket for an aquatic show. Or add Jellies for $3 per person. 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 except on Community Discount Days.

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.

(credit: John G. Shedd Aquarium)


Here’s a list of the some of the newer exhibits at the Shedd.

Jellies – Running until May 28, Jellies is a special exhibit the showcases amazing sea jellies. Learn how they survive in the world’s oceans. Read more about it here.

Aquatic Show – Come witness the splendor of dolphins and belugas as they showoff their natural talents and learned skills.

Wild Reef – The reef opened in 2003 and has been entertaining guests since by letting them explore a Philippine coral reef, which is the most diverse underwater ecosystem in the world.

Oceanarium – Visit a coastal ecosystem and see beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, sea otters and sea lions.

Where to Eat at the Shedd

Soundings Café
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.

Bubble Net
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.

Puiji had been at the aquarium since 1989 (credit: Shedd Aquarium)

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:

Public Transportation

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.

Water Taxi

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.

(credit: CBS)

Where to Stay

Make sure to check for hotel packages that include the museum when making your reservation.

Rachel Azark is a writer and lives on Chicago’s northwest side. Read more of her work on her blog