Frequently Asked Questions

Shedd’s Website is easy to navigate and search. If you have a specific question about your visit, you’ll probably find the answer below.

General Questions

How much does it cost to visit Shedd Aquarium? Are there discount days? 
The cost of your visit depends on what exhibits you wish to see. Take a look at our ticket prices and available discounts.

Can I buy tickets to Shedd Aquarium online?
Yes, and we reommend it! Purchase tickets online by clicking on the "Buy" links on our Ticket Prices page.

Is there something special to see or do on the day of my visit? 
Explore our plan a visit section for daily programs and special events or activities. Daily event schedules are also posted in the aquarium's foyer when you arrive, and follow our blog to see what's new at Shedd!

What's the best time to arrive at Shedd?
Arrive early (we open at 9 a.m.). Shedd is a popular place and can get crowded, especially on weekends, in the summer and on holidays. Sunday mornings, when the aquarium is least crowded, are a great time for relaxed family visits.

Do exhibits ever sell out?
Some exhibits or experiences may sell out early in the day during busy seasons (especially on weekends, in the summer and on holidays). Purchase tickets in advance to make sure you get in and avoid waiting in line. 

Should I try to see everything in one day?
There is a lot to see here! Instead of trying to rush through all the exhibits in one day, consider buying a membership so that you can come back often. You might also want to check out our self-guided tours to help you sample Shedd. Try a new one each time you visit!

How long should I plan for my visit?
While it depends on the ticket package you purchase, the average visit takes 3 hours.

What and when are discount days?
On Shedd's Illinois Resident Discount Days, general admission is free. View the schedule here. Illinois Resident Discount Days are sponsored by Ford Motor Company Fund.

Do you have lockers?
The aquarium provides coin-operated lockers for guests to store coats and other items when visiting. We cannot be responsible for packages or luggage that will not fit in one of our lockers.

Can I take pictures?
Yes, but for the animals’ safety and comfort, please turn off your flash. No tripods are allowed.

Is there handicapped parking?
The small parking lot between Shedd and the Field Museum offers reserved handicapped parking, as does the Soldier Field north garage. Shedd's bus turnaround, on the south side of the aquarium, is a convenient drop-off point, close to the accessible entrance, for those traveling with a driver.

Can I rent a wheelchair?
Wheelchairs are available for free checkout on a first-come, first-served basis with appropriate identification and a credit card for deposit. Ask at the information desk.

Can I rent a stroller?
No stroller rental is available.

Where can I eat while visiting Shedd?
You can choose from the casual Soundings Café, the quick Bubble Net food court, or the Deep Ocean Café in Polar Play Zone. Check out Dining at Shedd.

Can I bring a brown-bag lunch?
Yes. The vending area at the ground-level entrance has tables and chairs. You can purchase snacks and bottled beverages here.

Is there a nursing area?

Yes, we have a small designated nursing area. Ask a guest services representative to direct you to the location.

Can you answer a question about my aquatic pet?
We can’t take individual inquiries, but we can suggest resources to help you find an answer.

I’d like to work/volunteer/intern at Shedd — where do I start?
Visit our Working at Shedd page for career and volunteer opportunities at Shedd.

Can I have my wedding reception (or other special event) at Shedd?
Yes. Visit our Plan an Event page. 

Where can I find information about the animals that live at Shedd Aquarium?
You can Explore by Animal.

Membership Questions

If your membership question is not answered here, please call our members hotline at 312-692-3284, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or e-mail us at

How do I purchase or renew a membership at Shedd Aquarium?
Purchase or renew a membership, call our members hotline, visit us at the membership booth (cash or credit card only), or send a check to the attention of the Membership Department at John G. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605.

How long is my membership good for?
Your Shedd membership is good for one year from the date of purchase and expires at the end of the month in which you purchased it.

What is included with my membership?
View the list of members benefits online.

When will my membership card(s)/expiration sticker(s) arrive?
Please allow four to six weeks for your membership packet, including permanent cards (or new expiration stickers) to arrive. In the meantime, you can present your photo ID at the membership booth for entry into the aquarium.

Are tickets to Shedd's aquatic show included in my membership?
Free tickets to daily aquatic shows are based on availability, so be sure to visit early to get your complimentary tickets. If you would like to guarantee your seats, you can purchase your aquatic show tickets in advance for a small fee.

It has been longer than six weeks and I don’t have my membership card(s)/expiration sticker(s) yet. What do I do?
Call our members hotline or e-mail us. You can still visit by presenting your photo ID at the membership booth for entry into the aquarium.

I lost my membership card/my name is misspelled/I need to change my address. What do I do?
To receive a replacement membership card or change your address; please call the members’ hotline or e-mail us.

Can I still visit without my card?
Yes. You will need to present your photo ID at the membership booth for entry into the aquarium.

I have a reciprocal membership. What benefits does the reciprocity get me?
Reciprocal admission or discounts are offered by select aquariums and zoos across the country. See a full list of participating institutions.

How do I purchase a membership for someone?
You can share Shedd with someone in any of three ways:
Purchase online
Call the members hotline.
Stop at the membership booth on your next visit.
Please allow three to four weeks for the gift membership package to arrive.

I purchased a membership online. How soon can I use my membership to visit the aquarium?
Immediately. Print out the confirmation page and present it at the membership booth with your photo ID for entry.

Can someone else use my membership?
Memberships are nontransferable and for the designated cardholder only.

Can my nanny/babysitter bring my children to Shedd without me?
Your nanny/babysitter may represent the membership to bring your children to Shedd, but he or she may not use it to visit without your children or to bring additional guests. To add your nanny/babysitter as a representative of your membership, call the members hotline within 48 hours prior to visit.

I received stickers but no new membership cards. What do I do?
We have switched to permanent membership cards. Each year when you renew, you will be sent stickers to place on your membership card to indicate your expiration date. If you no longer have your membership card, please call the members hotline for a replacement card.

If I am a member and come with a school group, do I have to pay?
No. Go to the membership booth and present your membership card or photo ID to receive a ticket for the day.

When is the best time to visit?
Visit early and often! Shedd is a popular place, and it can get crowded, especially on weekends, in the summer and on holidays. Arrive at 9 a.m., when we open and exhibits are least crowded.

Where do members park, and is parking included with my membership?
All visitors to the aquarium, members and nonmembers alike, can find metered parking on Solidarity Drive. Flat-fee parking is available at several Museum Campus lots and the Soldier Field garage; rates are established by the management of Solider Field parking and are subject to change, based on the stadium’s event schedule. Be sure to check our website for parking and traffic updates. Shedd cannot validate parking for members. We do, however, offer limited valet parking on weekends.

If I’m visiting Shedd with friends/family who are not members, can my guests buy admission tickets with me at the membership booth?

Do members get in free for Jazzin’ at the Shedd?
Yes, one of the benefits of Shedd membership is free admission to Jazzin’ for as many people as your membership allows. Members do not need to purchase tickets to Jazzin', and they can check in at the Membership Desk upon arrival.

Whether you're arriving by car, bus, or cab, check for high-traffic days and special events on the Museum Campus. 

Not sure where to go and what to see? We’ve put together some "Fun Finds” self-guided tours to help you sample Shedd. Try a new one each time you visit!

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