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Visit Chicago Illinois
Pygmi Seahorse at Shedd Aquarium Aerial View in Chicago

The John G. Shedd Aquarium

1200 South Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 939-2438

Written by Julie Greiner
A visit to Chicago has to include the Shedd Aquarium. The John G. Shedd Aquarium is the world's largest indoor aquarium. The facility houses nearly 8,000 aquatic animals of some 650 species of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, inverebrates, birds and mammals from waters all around the world. No wonder the Shedd
Aquarium is known as "The World's Aquarium." The Shedd Aquarium has been committed to preserving threatened or endangered aquatic species since its opening in 1930. The Aquarium was a gift to the people of Chicago from John Graves Shedd, president and chairman of the board of Marshall Field & Company. The yearly attendance is approximately 2 million.


The marine mammal pavilion features beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Alaska sea otters and harbor seals. They are in a re-creation of a Pacific Northwest coastal environment. There are winding
Shedd Aquarium Aerial View in Chicago
nature trails leading guests through a rugged stretch of temperate rain forest with plants, streams and tide pools. One can watch the dolphins' natural behavior. There are large viewing windows in the lower gallery of the Oceanarium that offer guests face-to-face encounters with the whales and dolphins. In a separate area a colony of penguins live ina naturalistic habitat.

Seahorse Symphony

The Bank of America has sponsored the Seahorse Symphony exhibit. You can observe the unique characteristics of these astonishing creatures, their toothless, tube-shaped mouths that allow them to suck up their minute food like industrial-strength vacuum cleaners. Their bony body
plates that act as armor to protect them from predators, their astonishing colors protect them from preditors. This exhibit assists in informing the visitor about the threat to these delicate animals by over collecting for the pet and souvenir trade.

The Galleries

The original Aquarium contains a wide variety of freshwater and saltwater exhibits. Animals from regions as far away as Asia, Africa and Australia are as close as Lake Michigan. A free-standing display features sea anemones and small oceanic animals that are frequently mistaken as flowers of the
Rotunda Display at Shedd Aquarium Aerial View in Chicago
sea. The 90,000 gallon Caribbean Reef exhibit is home to more than 250 tropical Caribbean reef animals including sharks, eel, a sea turtle and a host of colorful fish. The Amazon Rising exhibit takes guests on a journey along the banks of the Amazon River during the rainy season into the flooding forests. These exhibits are fantastic works of art and are a must to visit when in Chicago.

Guests may relax and enjoy dining with a view in Soundings, Shedd Aquarium's fine dining restaurant or the Bubble Ne food court. There are two new gift stores that feature a variety of jewelry, souvenirs and books. Shedd Aquarium is generously supported by the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District and relies upon visitor participation.

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Last Updated: September 23, 2015