Shedd Aquarium’s historic home is evolving to meet the needs of our animals, our community and guests of the future. Read more below to see how these significant transformations and restorations will prepare Shedd for the next 100 years of looking nature in the eye.
Together we are embarking on an Experience Evolution – with animal biology, behaviors and dazzling biodiversity at the core. We are building an aquarium of the future, where guests will explore with their senses and look on with wonder at the weird and wonderful adaptations that allow aquatic animals to thrive in all sorts of environments around the world. Guests will leave with a deeper personal relationship to nature and a better understanding of how our decisions – both big and small – impact our shared fate.
Shedd is evolving to:
- Improve already exceptional animal care through advancements in the husbandry, veterinary science and care of animals.
- Introduce some of the world’s most challenging conservation issues facing animals and ecosystems and offering guests the ability to act.
- Expand a sense of belonging, welcome, and greater opportunity for learning through bilingual exhibits, offered in both English and Spanish.
- Increase physical accessibility through modernized ramping and circulation pathways.
- Bring guests eye-to-eye with aquatic life in new, participatory and immersive ways.
- Serve more mission moments to more students with greater access.
- Create intentional spaces for communities to gather, commune and collaborate.
Read more about what’s coming below and plan a visit to Shedd soon to see all of these exciting changes for yourself!
There’s always something new to see, touch and experience. Check out the latest exhibits to explore now as we continue to evolve.
Evolution in Progress
New galleries and experiences are coming soon. Learn more about what’s coming and plan your visit to be one of the first to see these exhibits w...
We have even more exciting transformations planned for our historic home. Take a look at the habitats of the future and when they are expected t...
Exhibits that Sunset
We are reimagining all of our historic galleries to be more immersive, bilingual and science-rich.
Our Diverse Workforce Commitment
The realization of Shedd Aquarium’s Centennial Commitment through the reimagination of its historic home is not only an investment in the future of our blue planet but also an investment in Chicago and its communities.
It is estimated that this transformational project will support the generation of more than 1,700 statewide jobs and create more than $340 million in statewide economic activity through construction, helping to fuel our city’s economic recovery, mobility, and future revitalization. After the final ribbon cutting, the aquarium’s total economic impact is estimated to approach $410 million annually, serving a minimum of 1.5 million more guests and 160,000 more school children by 2030.
A large part of this economic vision includes the organization’s self-imposed goals to award subcontracting packages to diverse vendors of at least 26 percent and 6 percent MBE/WBE vendors, as well as 50 percent of total onsite labor work hours to Chicago residents with half those hours being combined minority and female workforce. Additionally, three percent of the total onsite combined laborers and/or non-trade work hours will be with community residents with preference given to those who reside in Chicago’s 4th Ward and the surrounding neighborhoods of Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Museum Campus, North Kenwood, Oakland and the South Loop.
Honoring Historical Integrity While Augmenting for the Needs of Today
Through our onsite reimagination we will merge new, intuitive, breathtaking design to encourage an engaging environment while honoring and celebrating Shedd’s history via the current building’s unmistakable architecture.
Opened in 1930, Shedd Aquarium was crafted in the classical Beaux-Arts style and uses white marble and terra cotta features to create an elegant, distinguished presence. At the time, Shedd Aquarium was cutting edge and one of the city’s most famous and well-regarded architectural achievements. The facility includes various homages to aquatic life, from marine fossils in the limestone floor to Neptune’s trident capping the glass dome. By expanding on this already-beautiful setting, the aquarium’s new design will create a more inclusive environment that will provide an immediately welcoming atmosphere for all our guests and reflect — and embrace — a much wider experience.
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