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Family Vacations in Illinois

Family Vacations: Shedd Aquarium

Audiences thrill to a performance by trained dolphins at Shedd's Oceanarium.

The Shedd Aquarium opened in 1930 as the first inland aquarium to have a permanent saltwater exhibit. Water was shipped by railcar from Florida. Today the Shedd Aquarium boasts a collection of 8,000 aquatic animals and an Oceanarium.

The aquarium offers a number of programs, including Freshwater Fun, which teaches children about pond life; Sailing the Seven Seas, where kids learn about animals living in the sand, sea, and snow; and Sharks: Fact or Fiction, which serves up information about these mysterious ocean dwellers, complete with a close-up view of the aquarium's shark residents.


The Shedd's exhibits bring you close to exotic underwater worlds. The 400,000-gallon Wild Reef habitat has one of North America's most diverse displays of sharks. Its floor-to-ceiling aquarium windows give guests a diver's-eye view of a Philippine coral reef teeming with more than 500 species of reef fishes of all shapes, colors, and sizes.

The Caribbean Coral Reef tank is filled with just about every species you'd expect to find in tropical waters. A variety of rainbow-colored fish share the space with several sharks and sea turtles. Divers hand-feed the animals at scheduled times during the day. At Amazon Rising, anacondas, piranhas, and spiders the size of dinner platters bring the diverse Amazon basin to life.

The expansive Oceanarium exhibit re-creates a Pacific Northwest marine environment, with dolphins, harbor seals, sea otters, penguins, and beluga whales visible through underwater viewing windows. During scheduled shows each day in the Oceanarium, visitors will be entertained by the exciting acrobatics of the Shedd's dolphins.

Shedd Aquarium

Address: 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr

Chicago, IL

Phone: 312/939-2438

Hours of Operation:

  • Sept - May: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily and weekends 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • May - Sept: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., daily

Admission: $8 adults; $6 kids

Continue to the next page for information about the exciting movies and seminars available at the Chicago Children's Film Festival. To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Chicago City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the Windy City.
  • Illinois State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Illinois, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.