Shedd Aquarium

1200 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago IL 60605
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Opening Hours

  • Mon: 9am-5pm
  • Tue: 9am-5pm
  • Wed: 9am-5pm
  • Thu: 9am-5pm
  • Fri: 9am-5pm
  • Sat: 9am-6pm
  • Sun: 9am-6pm


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The Shedd Aquarium is one of the best aquariums in the Midwest and surely a must-see for visitors to the Chicago area. While a lot of the marketing is geared toward families, Shedd is perfect for any animal lover. Their rotating exhibits are great, but going through the permanent exhibits never gets old, either, as they do a good job of keeping things fresh every few months.

Best and worst time to go to Shedd Aquarium
The Shedd Aquarium is pretty busy year-round. However, the best days to go are Monday-Friday in the fall, winter, and spring. Conversely, it'll be most crowded on summer weekends or Illinois resident free days (for dates, click here).

Must see/do at Shedd Aquarium

  • Stingray Touch - A very cool experience for any visitor, but is only open May-October
  • Special Exhibit - It varies every four-six months (i.e. jellyfish, amphibians), but always a must-see
  • Polar Play Zone - Great place for the kids, plus visitors get an underwater view of the dolphins

Admission to Shedd Aquarium
General admission ranges anywhere from $6-10, but to get into every exhibit, you'll pay around $30-40 per person. Visitors will also have to pay a few dollars for parking.

Parking at Shedd Aquarium
With the way the roads are constructed, getting to the parking lots can be a little tricky, so pay close attention to the signs. The closer parking will range anywhere from $20-40. If you're willing to walk a little further, park in the Adler Planetarium lot, which runs $11-19.

Public Transportation to Shedd Aquarium
Because of the congested roads around the aquarium, public transit may be the easiest way to go if you're going on a weekend or during the summer. The CTA offers two routes (#146 and #130) that go to the Museum Campus. Otherwise, a combination of the CTA trains and buses will get visitors there.

Food at Shedd Aquarium
The Shedd offers a food court (the Bubble Net Food Court) with a variety of options, including several healthy eating options. Prices for a meal will run $5-10 per person.

Insider Tip for Visitors to the Shedd Aquarium
If you plan on going, order tickets online and get there when doors open (usually around 9 a.m.). You'll beat the crowds by not waiting in line for an hour or two and you can get through the most popular exhibits before the most people show up between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Author's bio: Michael Benson is a life-long Illinois resident and an avid traveler throughout the Midwest.