John G Shedd Aquarium

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1200 South Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60605
Open Hours

Mon-Sun 8:30 am - 6 pm


By the early 1920s, nearly every major metropolis in the United States and abroad had an aquarium. By 1930, Chicago stood tall among their ranks, thanks to civic leader John G. Shedd’s drive to build the first permanent inland saltwater collection in the country. Shedd’s contribution of $3 million paid for nearly a million gallons of seawater, which were transported by rail from Florida’s coast before filling exhibits large enough to accommodate sea mammals as well as fish.

Today, Shedd’s dream continues to thrive with the aquarium’s scores of undersea creatures—from sharks and dolphins to vibrant sea cucumbers—showcased in educational, eye-catching exhibits. The permanent collection spirits visitors from the Great Lakes to the Amazon River to the waters of the Arctic Circle. The resident critters often share their turf with temporary guests such as sea jellies and stingrays, who fill dramatic special exhibits.

The most exciting animal encounters, however, may come via the year-round aquatic show. Trainers show off the talents of sea lions, dolphins, and even beluga whales. They have some four-legged company, too: a trio of rescue dogs often perform alongside their finned adoptive family, demonstrating how learning through positive reinforcement transcends boundaries between species.