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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shedd Aquarium, Chicago ~ Our Visit


Recently, my small family was invited to visit the Shedd Aquarium while we were taking a short vacation in the area. We were so excited to go. For my husband, it brought back memories of when he went with his parents. For myself and Alex, it was our first time visiting and we couldn’t wait to see all there was to see.

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As we entered the Shedd Aquarium, we were a tiny bit overwhelmed with its size. I could tell it was a big place from the information I found online, but it felt a lot bigger once we actually were inside. Fortunately, we had a map and knew where we were.

The aquarium is broken down into different areas and offers its visitors a lot of information on the fish you can see, the areas they live in, and more. There are ways for visitors to interact with some of the displays. Some things talk to you when you push a button, some things have a written explanation and you can push a button to light up an area you read about. Some areas allow you to touch things and give the little ones a chance to play.

We started by visiting the Waters of the World. In this area, there are fish found in lakes and rivers all over the world. There are 80 different exhibits in this area alone. One of the neatest things to see in this area was the Grand Cayman blue iguanas. They were stunning.

Here are some pictures from that area of the Shedd Aquarium.

Next, we headed downstairs. I went to watch the training session as my husband and son went down to the Polar Play Zone. There was also a 4-D movie experience available to watch. We decided not to go in as it was not recommended for children under 5 years old. I wish we could have watched the Planet Earth feature; “From Pole to Pole”.


I can’t tell you much about the training session I saw in the Amphitheatre as it was top secret. I wasn’t even able to take pictures while I was there. What I can tell you is that a beautiful show called “FantaSea” is coming to the Shedd Aquarium late this summer. The show features Beluga Whales, Dolphins, Penguins and more. This show brings the audience right into the show and it was honestly the neatest thing I have seen in a while. You can contact the Shedd Aquarium or watch their website for dates when “FantaSea” will available to the public. You don’t want to miss it.

*Also, 2 of the beluga whales are pregnant and due to have their babies this fall. I wish I could be there again this fall to meet them, but I’ll have my own little newborn to care for then.

Following the training session, I headed down to find Alex and the hubster in the Polar Play Zone. As I went through, I met the beautiful Beluga Whales and saw children playing in the submarine display. I saw children dressing up like penguins and going down a slide right across from the penguin display. I met the beautiful dolphins and watched them swim through the water at high speed. I also met the adorable sea otters and watched as children made their way through a hands-on display that taught them more about what they saw and the habitats these creatures lived in.

My husband said that Alex had fun but wasn’t interested in touching anything in the “hands-on” display. It may have been because of the crowd of people down there or perhaps he just wasn’t in the mood. Apparently, he spent a lot of time playing in the submarine.

DSCN0204A beluga passing by. Do you see it?



The submarine the little ones can play in. There are all sorts of buttons and things to work in there.


How cute are these penguins?

We were sure to visit every other area available in the Shedd Aquarium as well. These areas are Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising, and Wild Reef in the Oceanarium.

What I found to be the most fascinating of these exhibits was the Oceanarium and the Wild Reef. In this area, the walls of the exhibit are made to look like you’re walking through the wild reef. Alex loved to feel the different parts of the reef as we walked along. He also found his good friend, Nemo. There were sharks to watch swimming by and stingrays right below your feet. I wish we had more time to spend down there.

Overall, our visit was full of adventure, learning, and memories that we won’t soon forget. This is the perfect place to spend the day as a family or even on your own. There are many different places to eat and even a Vending Area with tables if you want to bring your own lunch to enjoy.

If I ever have the chance to return, my dream would be to have a Beluga Encounter. For $200, you can get right in the water with the beluga whales, touch them, do a few tricks with them, and leave with a framed picture. Something like this would be amazing to do and I can only dream I’ll have the chance to do that.

So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium today and make memories to last a lifetime. Not only did we enjoy it, but Alex couldn’t help falling right asleep while clutching his souvenir from the gift shop.

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*All photos in this post were taken with a Nikon COOLPIX P90*



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