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“I guess we got lucky”
Review of Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium
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Owner description: Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Shedd Aquarium brings you eye-to-eye with more than 32,000 aquatic animals - from whales to snails, tarantulas to turtles, angelfish to zebra sharks!
annapolis, md
Level 6 Contributor
352 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 194 helpful votes
“I guess we got lucky”
Reviewed January 2, 2012

I can understand others frustration with long lines and high prices. Luckily, we must have gone on an off day, so we were able to get in quickly. My friend was a resident of Illinois so we got an additional discount which helped to offset the ridiculous pricing.

In order to really have a great experience, you really have to pay the additional $ to see the belugas, the caribbean reef exhibit and the special jellyfish one.

The original and old parts of the Shedd are showing signs of age, but are still interesting and the visuals of all the different sea life continues to amaze.

I could see how difficult a visit here would be if it was packed, as the exhibits are not designed to be seen from afar but up close and personal. I would probably call ahead and ask the staff the best days and times to visit.

We were delighted when we got to the Beluga tank as there was barely anyone there. We were able to get a great look both from above and below the water line. The newer Caribbean reef is really incredible. There is so much to see and learn here.

The jellies, with their delicate grace and beauty, were definitely some of the stars of our visit, but I was surprised that they only had a several tanks. We visited the Baltimore aquarium's version and it's was superior to this one. Nevertheless, enjoyable.

I would encourage folks to visit, but with warnings about crowds, lines and pricing. Just do a bit of homework and you might just hit an off peak time and get a coupon or other discount.

Visited December 2011
1 Thank llpupa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 5 Contributor
43 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Never ever ever again”
Reviewed January 2, 2012

My family was in Chicago for New Years, we had vouchers for free admission and thought that would be a perfect place to spend our afternoon - wow what a mistake. We wasted nearly 2 hours of our day, and didn't even see any exhibits!

This was actually our second visit here. The first time was disappointing. The place was being renovated so the exhibits were very limited, and there was a promotion going on so the line to get in was extremely long. I thought that was a fluke, and was willing to give the place a 2nd chance. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, I guess.

We arrived on our second visit about 11:45, and saw a line that was out the door, down the stairs, and into the courtyard. A woman from the Shedd was there saying the wait was 30-40 minutes. What a lie! We waited for more than an hour in the cold and bitter wind before we were even to the front door. We then waited in line for 20 more minutes inside the unheated entryway, before we actually were allowed inside the building itself. After waiting nearly an hour and a half at that point, we assumed we were almost ready to start seeing thing - nope! Once inside there was another switchback line that would take at least 30 more minutes just to get up to one of the 3 people who were selling tickets. As we approached the 2 hour mark, it was clear that the experience was ruined. Even if we would have continued to wait, there's no way we would have been able to enjoy our time.

If the Shedd was honest with people up front, that the line from the bottom of the stairs will take at least an hour and a half, instead of telling up that it would be 30-40 minutes, we could have at least made a decision to spend our time elsewhere. Instead, it was nearly 2 o'clock when we gave up. (We weren't alone in giving up, btw, several other families in front of us had already left the line) We went and had lunch elsewhere in town, but it was too late to bother trying to go anywhere else attraction-wise, so we went home with our day in Chicago completely wasted.

We gave the Shedd two chances, there is no way they will ever get a third. Even with a free ticket, I won't set foot in that building ever again. There are lots of great museums in Chicago, there is no reason to waste your time with one that is run this poorly.

Visited January 2012
5 Thank RTAMidwest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Level 5 Contributor
86 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Incredibly expensive for an Aquarium but still nice”
Reviewed January 1, 2012

I don't know how they can charge so much for an aquarium but the lines are unbelievable. Try to avoid school holidays if you want to get in and actually see things. On top of the exorbitant price, you also have to pay for many of the attractions. It's still nice in a great location, but if you are coming to Chicago either do the City Pass or go straight to the Museum of Science and Industry.

Thank ShutterbugTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Janesville, Wisconsin
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A great place for the whole family”
Reviewed January 1, 2012

My husband and I enjoy bringing our child to the Shedd Aquarium. It is a very family friendly environment with a lot of different exhibits to see for people of all ages. Definitely try to visit the website for a discount (they offer one for educators). The lines to get in are very long, so it would be to your advantage to get the tickets in advance. You must pay separately for the shows: 4-D experience( which is a 15 minute movie, but very cool) and the live animal show (approximately 30 minutes). If you plan on visiting the Shedd multiple times a year, the membership is well worth it. You receive discounts throughout the aquarium. It tends to be a busy place, but you can still enjoy it. Be sure to visit the Wild Life Saltwater Reef. It is in the lower level. It is my favorite part of the aquarium. A beautiful display of a coral reef and saltwater animals. Also the view of the large animal pool overlooking lake Michigan is also an awesome sight to see.

Visited December 2011
Thank Scout2604
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bay City, Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“A Must See”
Reviewed December 30, 2011

Every time we go to Chicago we make a stop here. We are always able to find a deal online, which is nice because it can be expensive for a large family. Even when there are many people this place isn't ever overcrowded. The animal show is a must see, as is the 4D. The Jellies were entertaining. Everyone we travel with always wants to go to Shedd's. I highly recommend it.

Visited December 2011
Thank bluepig112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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