Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium

Chicago Shedd Aquarium Check out our Chicago Visitors Guide, with budget advice, travel guides, and information about local Chicago attractions

If you are curious about aquatic life, you’ll love Shedd Aquarium, one of Chicago’s top five attractions! Home to over 32,000 animals, including: river turtles, tropical fish, beluga whales, dolphins, penguins, iguanas, tiny frogs, sea otters, and tiny monkeys. If you are enthusiastic about animals, you will certainly enjoy learning about the one’s who call Shedd home. It’s a wonderful Chicago attraction for everyone, including families with children, on sunny and rainy days all year round.









  • The Amazon Rising

This exhibit displays plants and animals from the Amazon and teaches about how this ecosystem survives and even thrives with yearly floods. There are piranhas, monkeys, and even an anaconda in the Amazon Rising.

  • The Caribbean Reef

Check out the plant-life and the inhabitants of the Reef! Look for the green sea turtle and the sharks!

  • Waters of the World

There are over 80 habitats in this exhibit ranging from Asia to the local American wetlands.

Additional Exhibits

  • The Abbott OceanariumChicago Shedd Aquarium Fantasea_aquatic_show - c

This exhibit will teach you about the Pacific Northwest. You will encounter beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions, and sea otters. You can also enjoy the Shedd’s Aquatic show.

  • Polar Play Zone

Get up close and personal with underwater viewing decks where dolphins come to greet you while you eat your lunch, and a penguin playscape!

  • The Wild Reef

Home to sharks, stingrays, and live coral, the Wild Reefs offer a close encounter of some exotic creatures in their living habitat.




Before you buy…

We suggest purchasing tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. If you purchase online tickets on the same day there is a $15 per ticket express entry fee, so try to purchase at least one day in advance to get the best deal.

Chicago City Pass

Get in for free with the Chicago City Pass! See Chicago’s Top 5 attractions at a huge discount.

52 Days FREE for Illinois Residents is a program at Shedd Aquarium that can mean real savings for locals! During these Discount Days, general admission is free with a valid Illinois State ID/Driver’s License, and upgrades come at a discount! Check out the current discount dates and special offers.

Pro-tip: The colder it is in Chicago, the more likely the Shedd will add free days for Illinois residents.


      • Adult: $39.95
      • Child: $29.95
    • Chicago residents: Adult $19.95, child (3-11) $14.95

(All prices are subject to change and may vary. For the most current information, please go to their ticket page.)


  • Summer Hours: 9am-6pm Daily
  • Winter Hours: 9am-5pm Weekdays, 9am-6pm Weekends

Shedd Aquarium hours vary by season. Last ticket purchases occur 45 minutes prior to closing each day. Check the calendar before you visit.


Where is the Chicago Shedd Aquarium?

Address: 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60605.

While the Shedd is within walking distance of most Downtown hotels and popular attractions, there is public transportation and parking at Shedd. It takes approx. 15 minutes to walk from the Buckingham Fountain to the Shedd Aquarium. Taking public transportation? Try this trip planner!

Where is the Chicago Shedd Aquarium


Pro tip: Shedd Aquarium shares a front yard with Field Museum! Why not check out both in one day? Purchase tickets in advance to skip the line (or get both free as part of the Chicago City Pass package) and you’ll have plenty of time!  



The Shedd officially opened in 1930 thanks to John Graves Shedd who envisioned Chicago having the one of the most wonderful aquariums in the United States. As the first inland aquarium to have both freshwater and saltwater fishes, the aquarium experiences delays when opening. The water had to be transported via 160 train cars from Florida! When the aquarium officially opened, it didn’t have any fish yet! (Don’t worry, now it has 5,000,000 gallons of water containing over 1500 species.)

In a city known for her architecture, the Shedd Aquarium is truly a work of art. It was built in the Beaux Arts style by the architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White. The Shedd Aquarium is located alongside the glittering Lake Michigan which provides a perfect backdrop to this nautical inspired structure.

Graham and his team’s design is a classic Greek temple combined with a nautical theme. The top of the roof displays Neptune’s Trident! See if you can find all of the animals in the architecture and design.



        • The Shedd Aquarium is not-for-profit which means that they publicly disclose their financial information on their website. This also means that when you spend money there you can feel good about where it is going and how it is used.
        • A beluga whale’s pregnancy is 14-16 months!
        • The main cast-bronze doors to the aquarium weigh 500 pounds each with sea turtles on the edges. A REAL sea turtle can weigh up to 350 pounds!
        • Their goal is to rescue and return rehabilitated animals back into the wild, but sometimes that is not always possible. Shedd’s original four sea otter pups were rescued after an oil spill in 1989 but could not return to the wild since they’d never learned survival skills.
        • The Shedd is very eco-friendly! Sustainability is a part of every section of the aquarium. They have 913 solar panels, LED efficient light bulbs, a rainwater capture system for keeping the water cold in the aquariums, and even green gardens that use a compost made from cocoa bean shells from the local chocolate factory!
        • You can interact with the animals in special tours, feedings or experiences.
        • The Shedd has discount day/free days.