In Chicago, where gangster lore abounds, “sleep with the fishes” has an ominous history, but in today’s Windy City, there is no better aquatic adventure than “sleeping with the fishes” at the Shedd Aquarium. With activities that range from feeding sharks to touching a penguin’s feathers to an overnight sleepover party, this Chicago aquarium is a great spot to visit no matter the time of day or year.
The moment you walk into the famed Chicago aquarium, locally called the Shedd, you become immediately engulfed in a world under the sea. The expansive lobby opens right into a 360-degree, full-circle aquarium that gives a small peek into all the museum has to offer. You stop here to marvel at the wide array of fish and then watch a feeding up close before coming face to face with underwater friends and foes in an extraordinary experience that allows you to get up close and personal with the kings of the wild reef—sharks. During the 60-minute tour, you visit the Wild Reef exhibit and meet not only the sharks, but sea stars and rays too. Then the tour goes behind the scenes above the 400,000-gallon habitat where the fearless aquarists feed the boneless predators. This experience is not for the faint of heart, but leaves you with an unforgettable memory.
You get an inside look at the aquarium’s favorite animals with beluga and penguin encounters and then you and the family immerse yourselves even more by becoming trainers for the rest of the day. You pull on a pair of tall rubber boots, forgoing the wet suit, and go behind the scenes as a marine mammal trainer. This one is perfect for the water child in you and introduces you to dolphins, sea otters, sea lions, and more.
To further embrace the childlike wonder that accompanies any Shedd visit, you take your child’s school class for a visit, then host a Chicago aquarium birthday party, and even partake in a sleepover party. Your overnight sleepover includes a riveting aquatic show, a vast exploration of the Wild Reef, and an unforgettable Caribbean Reef dive presentation that provides you with multiple opportunities to capture unique memories with your family and friends that leaves no corner of the sea untouched.