Accessibility

At Shedd Aquarium, we believe there should be no boundaries to your experience.

Planning ahead

Sensory Friendly App
Prepare for your visit with Shedd Aquarium’s Sensory Friendly App. Designed for guests with autism and sensory processing disorders in mind, the app helps make Shedd more accessible to all guests. You can download it from iTunes or Google Play.

Where to park
The small parking lot between Shedd and the Field Museum, as well as the Soldier Field parking garage, offer accessible parking. If you’re driving and would like to drop off a passenger, our bus turnaround will get you closest to the sidewalk-level accessible entrance. Please check our traffic alerts page for up-to-date information about parking at Shedd.

Where to enter
Our accessible entrance is located on the southwest side of the aquarium. Look for the statue of a man holding a giant fish (pictured above!).

General Information

Straw Policy
Shedd Aquarium does not offer straws at any food locations due to animal health concerns. Please pack one if needed.

Accessible Restrooms can be found throughout the aquarium.

Family/Companion Restrooms can be found throughout the aquarium (Guest Amenities off the Main Lobby, Wild Reef, Polar Play Zone)

An Adult Changing Table is located in the last family restroom in the amenities hall off the Main Lobby.

Nursing Room - Please feel free to nurse anywhere you are comfortable. A private nursery is located off the Main Lobby.

Automated External defibrillators (AED’s) are located throughout the aquarium.

Accessible Amenities

Sound Reducing Headphones are available at the information desk and at the 4-D Theater for free checkout on a first-come, first-served basis with photo identification.

Wheelchairs are available for free checkout at the information desk on a first-come, first-serve basis with photo identification.

Accessible Seating – Aquatic Presentation Rice Amphitheater
Designated wheelchair accessible seating is available at the top of the amphitheater. Companion chairs are also available. For those who can transfer from their wheelchair, please see Shedd staff for additional options.

For those who are blind or have low vision

Tactile Maps Low Vision Icon are located in the Main Lobby and in the North Lobby.

Audio Described Aquatic Presentations Audio Description IconLow Vision Icon Live audio described aquatic presentations are available upon request with two week’s advance notice. To request this service, please contact us via email or phone: 

Email: contactus@sheddaquarium.org
Phone:
312-939-2438 (voice call to Shedd)
1-800-526-0857 (relay service)

Touchable Models Low Vision Icon When touched, the model of a seahorse (Seahorses Exhibit) or a penguin (Penguin Playscape) plays back identifying information about that body part.

For those who are deaf or hard of hearing

Assistive Listening Devices Assistive Listening Icon can be picked up at the main information desk and 4-D theater. Listening locations include Animal Chats, 4-D experience, Abbott Oceanarium and Behind the Scenes tour.

Sign Language Interpreters Sign Language Icon can be arranged at no additional charge for guests who are deaf or hard of hearing. We require two weeks’ notice to make arrangements. To request this service, please contact us via email or phone: 

Email: contactus@sheddaquarium.org
Phone:
312-939-2438 (voice call to Shedd)
1-800-526-0857 (relay service)

Closed Captioning is available for the 4-D experience (Phelps Auditorium). Please request a captioning device prior to entering the theater.

Accessibility Policies

Personal Care Attendants Policy

Visitors with severe disabilities may be accompanied by paid Personal Care Attendants (PCA) at no additional cost during their visit to Shedd Aquarium. This applies to all ticketed events, admission, Extraordinary Experiences, and Special Events that the visitor is attending. This also applies to membership, complimentary admission and group sales.

Visitors with severe disabilities who wish to purchase advance tickets for ticketed events, admission, Extraordinary Experiences, Special events, membership, and group sales should contact 312-939-2438 (option 9) to request complimentary companion tickets for a paid PCA. These tickets must be picked up in person by the visitor and the paid PCA at the point of entry.

Service Animal Policy

Service Animals are always welcome at Shedd Aquarium.

Service animals are defined as dogs or miniature horses that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Service Animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective controls.

Shedd Aquarium is home to more than 32,000 amazing animals, some of which may have a strong, negative reaction to the presence of unfamiliar animals. For the health and safety of your animal and ours, service animals are restricted from the following areas:

  • A portion of Amazon Rising: tiled portion at the rear of the exhibit
  • Coastal Walkway within the Abbott Oceanarium
  • Certain areas behind the scenes visited for Extraordinary Experiences. If you are signing up for one of these programs, please contact 312-692-2723 so we can prepare for your visit.

Service Animal Relief areas are located outdoors, on any of the grassy areas surrounding Shedd Aquarium.

Emotional Support/Comfort Animal Policy

For the health and safety of your animal and ours, emotional support/comfort/therapy animals and pets are not permitted within Shedd Aquarium.

If you have other questions or would like information about additional accommodations, please contact Shedd at contactus@sheddaquarium.org or 312-939-2438.

Plan a visit

We can't wait for you to meet our 32,000 amazing animals and explore the world’s oceans, rivers and reefs — right in the heart of Chicago. Learn more.

Getting to Shedd

Be it plane, train, or automobile—we’ll help you get here.

What’s coming up

View our calendar of events to see what’s on deck at Shedd.

Did you know?

Did you know: Our Behind-the-scenes tours, penguin encounter program and shark feeding tour are all accessible for guests who use wheelchairs? Get up close to some of Shedd’s most popular animals on your next visit.

Stay up-to-date with Shedd news

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