Thursday, March 3, 2011

Visiting the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago #FamilyTravel

The Shedd from where we were in line, 20 minutes into a 2 hr wait!

I have spent more hours in the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Shedd for short, than I can count.  My latest visit however, was the first time I racked up hours waiting in line though, 2 hours to be exact.  Had we known how long we would be standing out in the cold, we probably would have found something else to do, but thanks to a friendly crowd, corporate sponsorships and a whole lot of optimism we stuck it out. 

So we waited. And we snapped photos. 

Once inside we snagged 4 Total Experience Passes for free, which were a total savings of $140!  Because we stood in line for so long, we headed to the exhibits that are the "perks" on the pass starting with Wild Reef.

If you have never been to see Wild Reef, go! And if you have Chicago on your travel radar, squeeze in a trip to the Shedd and be sure to include the reef into your ticket price.

The Shedd's Wild Reef exhibit is filled with corals, sponges, sharks, eels and stingrays. But the best part is the huge shark tank. The way that it is built makes it so that the sharks catch you by surprise when one of them comes swimming by. There were so many different species that I didn't recognize and I kept wishing Joe, who was obsessed with sharks as a child, or JR's son were there with us to see it and point out the ones they recognized. 

In the end though, it was the tiny tank with the clown fish (think Nemo) that stole the show. And since we caught such a great picture in the low light exhibit, I decided that this was the picture I wanted to share. 

Loved this one too, but I felt bad because I switched from video back to camera mode and forgot to turn the flash off. Sorry, and it didn't happen again. I swear. 

The eels were all Taco talked about seeing, and then she wanted to go to Chinatown to eat some. Eew!
The best part of the day though, was the Oceanarium. There is an additional ticket fee for the Oceanarium and show, so we made sure to leave enough time to check it out. If tickets to the show are not in the budget, try to catch the trainers while they are working with the belugas, because it is basically a practice run for the real show. 

The Shedd put together a new show, showcasing not just the dolphins, but belugas and sea lions too!  And the Shedd got ubber thumbs up for their creative use of Muse in a video! 

The Shedd Aquarium is the perfect #FamilyTravel and #Frugaltravel spot, if you plan it right. 

To learn more about the Shedd Aquarium, their animals and programs, or to plan a visit go to