We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Excellent destination -poor management”
Review of Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Chicago Grand Half-Day Tour
Ranked #55 of 643 things to do in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
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!
Reviewed September 2, 2013

We love the Shedd Aquarium. There are many interesting galleries and exhibits. The downstairs area is wonderful, with enormous shark tanks and splashing tidal pools. We've visited several times and have not been disappointed. We've seen the dolphin show (a bit hokey) and the 4D experience. The 4D experience is short and is an extra charge but we enjoyed it.

However, the management leaves much to be desired. We entered this time with a family membership pass, but still had to wait in a long line for wristbands. We probably waited 20 minutes as this same line serviced people buying memberships, additional tickets, etc. why don't they have an express line for those only looking for the required wristband? It was pretty ridiculous! And I can't even guess how long those in the general admission waited...

Thank Gramma2Chance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (8,908)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"beluga whales"
in 765 reviews
"dolphin show"
in 876 reviews
"wild reef"
in 240 reviews
"sea life"
in 151 reviews
"sea world"
in 135 reviews
"stingray touch"
in 119 reviews
"jellyfish exhibit"
in 99 reviews
"sting ray"
in 84 reviews
"general admission"
in 256 reviews
"d movie"
in 110 reviews
"great lakes"
in 86 reviews
"long line"
in 196 reviews
"skip the line"
in 80 reviews
"buy tickets"
in 136 reviews
"walked right"
in 74 reviews
"all ages"
in 289 reviews
"field museum"
in 258 reviews

5,974 - 5,978 of 8,909 reviews

Reviewed September 2, 2013

Ridiculous line up. We waited about an hour when a nice kid came out and said that They would now open our line and our wait should be about 45 minutes. When we arrived he told us our wait was about 30-45 minutes and he never mentioned the bit about closing our line to enter.
We decided instead of waiting we would head upstairs and buy a membership, donating about $50.00 since we are only visitors and ending our wait. You don't think thats what they were hoping for do you? That put a bad taste in our mouths so it is tough to be too cheery about the exhibits. We did love Jellies, the beluga show was okay but one of the trainers smiled at us every minute and we stared at the back of the Beluga. in person and on a big screen behind us. Also, we had to wait to watch that show too. The movie was good, the poles in 4D, but the room smelled like pee. It was so busy and so many lines to get there it probably was pee, who in their right mind would leave a line. Surprisingly , we went outside to pet the sting rays and it was really quite. Our family has been in aquariums in Vancouver, San Diego and the Biodome in Quebec, we could have missed the Shedd and been just fine. Very expensive, way too many gift shops and poorly managed crowds. Who could ask for more.

Thank FamilyTravelers654
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2013

We LOVED our recent trip to the Shedd. The animals were in great exhibits, and there was a wide variety of animals so there is something for everyone. The Wild Reef (basement) was by far the best part, just make sure to be patient and look for the sawfish in with the sharks (a truly amazing fish). The food was expensive, but for a $4 hotdog you can sit and eat outside of the dolphin exhibit. The stingray touch is extra, but worth it. The 4D show and aquatic show, not so much. The highlight of the aquatic show was a dog... Other reviews said to buy online so I'm SO glad I did, but STILL GET THERE EARLY!!! The line for no tickets was about 2.5 hours, and even with the tickets already bought it took us about an hour to get in. Still, I would definitely go again :)

Thank Amanda H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2013

We made the mistake of being talked into purchasing the more expensive admission, $28 instead of $8 because, 'you would only be able to see the first floor attractions.' Little did I know that the other $20 allowed us to see a few more things and the $8 ticket would have been very adequate. This was a huge difference in price, and caused me to enjoy the aquarium less than I would have because I felt duped.

Thank happyandretired318
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed August 31, 2013

While my overrall experience was good I believe there are too many different tickets you can buy. It can be a little confusing on what attractions you can get in and what you can't. I bought our tickets through smartdestinations as a package deal and there were some things we couldn't do. And at the ticket booth we were told we could see the 4-d movie but the lady in front of the attraction said it was extra. Maybe it should be printed on the wristbands all the attractions you can see. lAlso, I have no idea where the dolphins were but that area was closed off so that was a little disappointing. We got there about 9:15a and I would highly suggest getting there early. When we left about 11:30 the line was out the door and down the steps. So glad we didn't have to wait in that line. Buy your tickets ahead of time!!!! You can skip this line!!!! Plus if you get there before 9:30 and park in the lot between the aquarium and the planetarium parking is only $11 for 12 hours. Pretty good deal for Chicago. Don't buy food here.....there are plenty of food carts right outside the doors or spring for some deep dish pizza!!

Thank Michris17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Shedd Aquarium also viewed


Been to Shedd Aquarium? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing