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 today’s Groupon to Shedd Aquarium. Choose between the following options:
- For $25, you get one admission to a behind-the-scenes tour on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m. (up to a $49.95 value).
- For $32, you get one admission to a penguin encounter, held on Saturdays and Sundays (up to a $59.95 value).
Both activities are subject to availability—call 10 days ahead to schedule your penguin encounter or behind-the-scenes tour. All encounters and tours must be booked by March 15, and must take place by May 31.
Shedd Aquarium, one of the world’s leading aquariums, houses scores of undersea creatures, from sharks and dolphins to vibrant sea cucumbers, in educational, eye-catching exhibits. During 50-minute behind-the-scenes tours, Maritime masters lead guests through the animal-healthcare center, offering up information on preventative healthcare and nutrition programs. Visitors then sneak behind galleries to get a rare view of the animals. Alternatively, during Shedd’s new 30-minute penguin encounter, a knowledgeable staff member introduces up to 10 guests to an affable penguin who rewards every 1,000th guest with a silver penguin egg. Visitors are encouraged to pet the penguin’s sleek feathers before posing with the birds for a complimentary 4”x6” photograph.
Both of today’s Groupon options grant admission to Shedd staples, including the Oceanarium, Wild Reef, and Waters of the World exhibits. Encounter beluga whales and sea otters at the Oceanarium, or share a rueful chuckle at the dodo’s demise with the penguins at the Polar Play Zone. Crystalline invertebrates lacking blood, bones, and brains sway their tentacles with the languid grace of a lobotomized maestro in a limited-run exhibit, Jellies.
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 animals often share their turf seasonal exhibits like stingrays, who fill dramatic special exhibits.
The most exciting animal encounters, however, may come via the year-round Aquatic Presentation. Trainers may 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. Also included is quarterly updates on the symbolically adopted animal via email. These emails provide unique updates from the aquarists and marine mammal staff that care for these animals daily.