Must see Monday: The Shedd Aquarium

Do you love animals and learning about their natural habitats? If so, the John G. Shedd Aquarium is a Chicago destination that the entire family is sure to enjoy.

Photo from chicagoage.com

The Shedd Aquarium is one of the most popular places to visit in Chicago
Photo from chicagoage.com

This beautiful aquarium is located just off the shore of Lake Michigan, and welcomes about two million visitors each year. While it may appear to be entertainment for tourists, the Shedd is a conservation leader as they set new standards for zoos and aquariums, according to their website.

The Shedd is home to over 32,500 marine animals that come from about 1,500 different species around the world, their website states.

The animal exhibits are divided into several different categories, all which provide unique learning experiences:

Photo from Chicagoparent.com

See stingrays and other sea creatures in the beautiful Caribbean Reef exhibit
Photo from Chicagoparent.com

  • Amazon Rising
  • Caribbean Reef
  • Jellies
  • Abbott Oceanarium
  • Waters of the World
  • Wild Ree

Amazon Rising takes you into the scaly, slimy and sometimes scary world of exotic animals that live in the Amazon, such as piranhas, anacondas and spiders. These definitely aren’t the kinds of animals you’ll find at the bottom of Lake Michigan!

Venture over to the Caribbean Reef, where you’ll find a 90,000-gallon tank filled with some of the most mystical creatures the ocean has to offer. In this exhibit, you’ll encounter sea turtles, stingrays, eels, sharks and more.

Curious about jellyfish? Learn all about them in Jellies. This special exhibit offers surprising information on jellyfish, claiming they’re not as simple as you might think.

Photo from sheddaquarium.org

Watch beluga whales, sea lions and more frolic in the water at the Abbott Oceanarium
Photo from sheddaquarium.org

No visit to the Shedd is complete without visiting the beluga whales, pacific white-nosed dolphins, sea otters and sea lions at the Abbott Oceanarium. Watch these animals in their natural habitats as you learn about the world they live in.

Looking for some exotic animals? Head over to Waters of the World. This exhibit takes you to the deepest and darkest depths of the oceans and lakes. Here you’ll find animals such as mantella frogs, blue iguanas, moon jellies and sea stars.

Finally, check out the bottom of the ocean floor at the Wild Reef. This award-winning exhibit that gives you a diver’s-eye view of some of the most terrifying creatures in the sea. Come face-to-face with sharks, eels and other sea creatures…if you’re brave enough.

If you want to get up close and personal with some of the animals at the aquarium, the Shedd has multiple behind-the-scenes tours that give you the opportunity to touch some of the animals.

Guys, if you’re ready to pop the question to your girlfriend, you can take her in the water for a guided tour of the beluga whale exhibit and end your session with the big question. How many couples can say they’ve had a beluga whale present during their marriage proposal? These programs require an extra fee, but may be worth the amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Shedd Aquarium has endless opportunities to touch, see and learn about marine animals. For full details on all the Shedd has to offer, visit their website for more information.

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