From Jan. 27-31, Illinois residents will get free general admission or $15 Shedd Total Experience Passes at the Shedd Aquarium, they recently announced. The total experience pass includes access to the Wild Reef, Abbott Oceanarium and “Amphibian” exhibit. Proof of residency must be provided in person when buying tickets at the discount rate. The aquarium is open 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekends.
Top 10 Things to Do at Shedd Aquarium
As one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is home to 32,000 animals. Probably more than a million if you count every coral polyp. We have a dazzlingly diverse array of animals that inhabit freshwater, marine, terrestrial and even aerial environments. So you’ll meet river turtles and sea otters, but you’ll also find tiny monkeys and tinier frogs that live high and dry but are integral parts of the Amazon flooded forest ecosystem. And the world’s rarest iguana species, found on one rocky desert islet in the Bahamas. We have penguins that “fly” through the water and dolphins that can leap and spin 20 feet in the air. You’ll find fishes that change pattern or shape, croak or bark, spit to knock insect prey out of trees and even surface for a breath of air. Here are a few things to check out while you are visiting the Shedd Aquarium:
#1 The Caribbean Reef
A 90,000-gallon circular habitat, Caribbean Reef brings visitors close to an underwater reef community. It includes green sea turtles, moray eels, rays, parrotfish and sharks. This assorted collection of oceanic life features sharks, stingrays, turtles, and more in a 90,000-gallon tank.
#2 Amazon Rising Exhibit
In the Amazon, animals, plants and people all share a lifestyle defined by the yearly floods. When rains raise the river as much as 30 feet, fishes swim where, in the dry season, people walked and birds perched. You’ll see this and more as you walk through a year in Amazon Rising. Look out for piranhas, tarantulas, stingrays, monkeys and an anaconda. In churning river channels, still lakes and even flooded treetops look for tetras, turtles and fruit-eating fish called tambaqui. See for yourself how the region adapts to the water’s dramatic annual rise and fall.
#3 Chill with Nickel and the other Sea Turtles
After a decade in the Caribbean Reef exhibit that sits in the center of the Shedd Aquarium, Nickel the green sea turtle, who came to the aquarium after she was struck by a boat’s propeller, has a story familiar to many kids and their parents. She has lived at the Shedd since July 22, 2003. She was rescued from Florida’s Gulf Coast in 1998, after a run-in with a boat’s propeller left her with a damaged shell and back flippers. After she spent a few years in a rehab facility, it was decided Nickel could not return to the wild. At the time, the Shedd was looking for another turtle after the death of Hawkeye, a beloved hawksbill turtle that had lived at the aquarium for a quarter-century, and Nickel was brought to Chicago. Visitors became enthralled with Nickel’s story, which is repeated throughout the day during feedings at the 90,000-gallon Caribbean Reef. Nickel’s peculiar swimming style — she can’t paddle her back flippers, which float higher than the rest of her body — makes her stand out in a tank full of amazing specimens. The great Green Sea Turtles grown up to 500 pounds from their strict seaweed diet!
#4 Waters of the World
Travel the world in 80 habitats. From the rivers of Asia, the lakes of Africa and the flooded forests of South America, all the way to our own local streams and wetlands — Waters of the World brings some of the world’s most fascinating animals together on one level of the aquarium. Discover the incredible diversity of underwater life across the world. Explore the waters of the world, from kelp forests to African lakes. Visit Grandad, the oldest living fish in the aquarium!
#5 Oceanarium Exhibit
Here you will find the biggest and largest saltwater marine life on display. This 3,000,000 gallon tank is home to Beluga whales and an underground penguin shore.
#6 Wild Reef Exhibit
In a crash of waves, splash into a coral reef in the Philippines and get a diver’s-eye view of a diverse marine metropolis in this 400,000 gallon tank. Spot animals with the most unusual patterns, shapes and textures made expressly to blend in with the dazzling diversity of the reef. Marvel at exotic corals. Witness predators and prey living in harmony. Visit a fishing village where residents saved their reef from destruction — all in this award-winning exhibit. Wild Reef is home to more sharks, stingrays and live coral than any other exhibit at Shedd.
#7 Marine Mammal Presentation
This is the show everyone talks about. Stop by to see Pacific White-Sided Dolphins and their trainers put on a spectacular show.
#8 A Day in the Life of a Sea Otter Pup
If you want to see the cutest animal at the Shedd, be sure to visit this exhibit to watch Cayucos (a sea otter pup) eat, train, and play.
#9 Meet the Hairy Jellies
This seasonal species of rare jellyfish has a squarish bell top and filamentous reproductive organs that light up like a light bulb.
#10 Explore Black Tip Reef Sharks
These vicious animals are common in coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific, and you can see them up close at the Shedd Aquarium.
There is plenty to see and enjoy for all ages at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, and there’s no better way to spend a day in the Windy City!