Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium, Chicago: Hours, Address, Shedd Aquarium Reviews: 4/5

Shedd Aquarium
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, Shedd Aquarium brings you eye-to-eye with unbelievable aquatic animals—from whales to snails, tarantulas to turtles, angelfish to zebra sharks!
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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The area
Neighborhood: South Loop
This downtown neighborhood offers a variety of activities ranging from cultural to sporting. If you happen to visit during football season, you may bump into a boisterous few fans on their way to a Bears game on the southernmost tip of South Loop. On the flip side, Museum Campus offers cultural and educational experiences in its planetarium, museum and aquarium, all situated along the lakefront. Grant Park is one of Chicago’s premier locations for green space and recreation with views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. Take a stroll down memory lane in the historic Prairie District where you can enjoy views of old historic homes. Restaurants, theaters, and clubs are spread throughout the neighborhood along with a collection of burger joints along Michigan Avenue just across from the park.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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9,734 reviews
Very good

Aisling F
Calne, UK296 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
The exhibits are great but the organisation is poor. You have to book a time slot to go in but at 10:45 they are still letting people in with tickets for 09:00. You arrive and there's a massive queue with no signs to say why the queue - for people particular time slots, no tickets etc. And there's no limit on how much time you can spend inside so what's the point on limiting how many people can arrive at a certain time.

No doubt covid will be used as the excuse but we're so far passed lockdowns it's a weak excuse.
Written March 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

John M
Raleigh, NC1,835 contributions
Nov 2021
I admit my review may be a bit biased. I spent many a lovely visit here as a young person when it was less touristy and free. I remember when they first opened the reef exhibit and later reveled at the Pacific Northwest exhibit with it's spectacular view of Lake Michigan and the inside fast food restaurant with the best views of the Chicago skyline. It was an easy place to visit with lots of street parking and quick walks to the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum.

But on our visit, it was impossible to find street parking. Our choices were the $30 covered parking lot or the $25 open parking at the former airport nearby. Add to that the $82 we spent for 2 adults tickets (there's no senior discount and admission is double what Chicago resident pay). We felt the aquarium experience did not justify the cost.

Most of what I knew is still there. However, one corridor has a very good Amazon River exhibit. The Beluga Whales are there, but when we went to the amphitheater, they were highlighting the penguins. We asked a volunteer what kind of dolphins they had, and although we were right next to them, she did not know. When we went to the center reef, we tried to find out when they feed the fish. No one seemed to know. The Aquarium is in a great need to educate their staff and volunteers!
Written November 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jeffrey Koslowski
Canton, MI618 contributions
Aug 2020
If you are into aquariums, this is one of the best from the standpoint of scope and size. I have been to a lot of aquariums and a lot of Museums. It can be very easily to get bogged down in the quantity and size but what is important to think about is the overall story of the themed section as opposed to each individual tank.
You will get searched from the outside so have your bags open as you are walking in. With tourist attractions only being allowed to operate at about 25% capacity, you should buy your tickets ahead of time. It will make getting in a lot easier.
There aren't going to be maps so have a digital version on your phone ready. Trust me, this place is big and the layout is confusing. It is as if there was an original portion and then they built onto it.
The big show is not taking place, likely because they don't want a lot of people crowding into the seated section. That being said, you can still go down to see the dolphins, beluga whales, sea lions, and otters. There are multiple levels to observe them. There are multiple wings to see special areas. I didn't go to the movie as I wanted to maximize my time seeing the animals. What is really cool is how much of the world you will see while going through the exhibits. If you are into the local ecosystems, they have a really good collection of animals of the Great Lakes. I was particularly impressed with the invasive species section. I had never seen Sea Lampreys before and after coming to the Shedd, it is no wonder they are such a pest. Next to them, they have one tank of the natural beauty and one with Asian Carp (another invasive species). They did a fantastic job showing how important it is to take care of our ecosystem.
The Shedd is one of the finest aquariums in the country and for good reason. For quantity and display, very few other places can touch it.
Written September 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Elizabeth J
Aiken, SC52 contributions
May 2022
We go to Aquariums wherever we travel, and honestly this was at the bottom. The price was high if you're not a resident, we were given a specific time to come, but it was jammed packed with busloads of people. You can barely get close enough to see anything. What was more disturbing is the size of the tanks that the aquatic life has to more around. Very disappointing.
Written June 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

39 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
We enjoyed our visit to the aquarium. There are some nice exhibits. We really liked seeing the octopus up close. The beluga whale exhibit is very well done. It was very, very busy on a Saturday at noon. You need to book your tickets well in advance. We booked several weeks out and arrived at noon to find a huge line. The aquarium staff came out to say that if you didn’t already have tickets, they were sold out for the whole day. Literally half the line had to leave. About two hours was all we needed.
Written March 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fort Worth, TX315 contributions
Sep 2021
We purchased a basic admission pass and enjoyed exhibits over the course of a few hours. The best part was by far watching the beluga whales, dolphins, otters, and penguins (lower levels). It's almost like having part of Sea World inside a regular aquarium.

This is a wonderful indoor museum for children as well as adults.
Written September 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kathryn N
9 contributions
Mar 2022
We were excited to see the aquarium on our recent visit to Chicago - it was my 16 year old son's first trip and he chose this as his major attraction/expense. Honestly the best part was the taco food truck we hit on our way in. The venue was jammed - so overcrowded I was shocked. The number of strollers and screaming kids was overwhelming. You couldn't get to the aquariums to see them, and every shot I have seems blocked by someone lifting up a toddler for a better view. The beluga thing was a little sad and we couldn't get into the whale show because of the masses of people. They were clearly understaffed and the staff were completely stressed out. I'm honestly not sure that the aquarium is doing any good in the world - but they are making a crap ton of money off ticket sales. I don't think the toddlers or their parents learned much about ecology. I had hoped to, but I didn't either.
Written March 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sarah C
Grand Rapids, MI16 contributions
Mar 2021 • Family
Times are strange right now with reduced occupancy but I feel like the safety measures in place at the Shedd Aquarium created more bottle necks and bigger lines. Zero social distancing possible in these lines at the exhibits that are not moving at all. They have the lines weaving back and forth and people standing shoulder to shoulder in these poorly planned lines. You couldn’t even be 3 feet from the people next to you if wanted.

We left after 1/2 hour. It simply did not feel safe. For my family of 3, it cost us a little over $100 to enter and decide to leave.

I had high hopes having a timed ticket but that meant nothing. It was jam packed and the ropes and directions they were trying to use to maintain the flow through the exhibits were actually making things worse.

Save your money. Do something else
Written March 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hanan C
California643 contributions
Nov 2021 • Family
What a wonderful aquarium. We went on a Sunday and it was busy. We were advised to buy our tickets online using the QR code posted outside. We were admitted after showing our confirmation number. Inside, you can buy tickets for the 4D short movies (12 mn each) or for the oculus experience. The restaurant on the lower level is open but the cafeteria in the shark area is closed. There are a live show with dolphins or other animals every hour. Seating is unassigned. Displays are really good. And kids can touch a shark.
Everyone was masked and there are sanitizer stations everywhere.
Written November 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tyra H
3 contributions
Jul 2021
The Shedd Aquarium is HUGE! They have several floor (elevators are available throughout). Three touch tanks (stingrays, sturgeon, and starfish). If you buy tickets at the information desk just inside the doors, you can feed the stingrays between 9am and 11am for only $5 a person. This is an amazing experience for all ages. Most viewing areas are large, but some are very small. They have a wide variety of sea life from different areas around the world. Audio is available online and there are plenty of information plaques to explain the fish and their environment. The entry price may seem high, but it is well worth it. Staff is friendly and helpful.
Written July 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium is open:
  • Mon - Fri 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sat - Sun 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking Shedd Aquarium tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 13 Shedd Aquarium tours on Tripadvisor