An aquarium visit soothes the soul with visions of ambling fish and bubbling tanks that call to mind the gestation pods in which all human life begins. Come full circle with this GrouponLive deal to the Shedd Aquarium. For $32, you get two Shedd Passes (up to a $28.95 value each) with two admissions to the Jellies exhibit (a $3 value each; up to a $63.90 total value). This option is valid for daytime admission through Monday, December 24. The Shedd is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.
Crystalline invertebrates lacking blood, bones, and brains sway their tentacles with the languid grace of a lobotomized maestro in a limited-run exhibit, Jellies. Marvel at the diverse species in a rainbow of hues and a range of sizes from 1/10 of an inch to larger than a blue whale's shower cap. Enormous panes of spotless glass allow visitors an up-close investigation of the mysterious creatures, whose huge range of sizes and delicate bodies make them difficult for scientists to study.
This Groupon also grants couples admission to all Shedd exhibits including the Abbott Oceanarium, Wild Reef, and Waters of the World. Visitors can discuss the upcoming Chicago Bears season with beluga whales and sea otters at the Oceanarium, or share a rueful chuckle at the plight of the dodo with the penguins at the Polar Play Zone. Some exhibits occasionally close during evening hours for cleaning or crustacean-canasta nights.
Chicago might be far from any ocean, but that obstacle didn't stop it from pioneering the first permanent inland saltwater aquarium in the country. Thanks to civic leader John G. Shedd’s drive and contribution of $3 million paid for nearly a million gallons of seawater transported by rail from Florida’s coast, by 1930 the city hosted exhibits large enough to accommodate a wide variety of marine species–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 Pacific Northwest. 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 demonstrate the natural behaviors of sea lions, dolphins, and even beluga whales. They have some four-legged company, too: a trio of rescue dogs often appear alongside their finned adoptive family, demonstrating how learning through positive reinforcement transcends boundaries between species.
Here’s why these lovable blobs are worth a first, second, or even fifth visit.