Open 9 am - 5 pm

Spring 2026

Changing Oceans

Start your journey with the sounds of rushing surf and shore birds before descending into an immersive experience fully focused on ocean habitats and climate change. The exhibits of this completely renovated gallery peel back the uniformity of the water’s surface and introduce the varied and vibrant biomes that exist below. One of the primary threats facing us as a species is climate change, including global warming and ocean acidification. Uncover how both marine ecosystems and specific animals are affected by these issues in vastly different ways, and act in the moment to protect our precious oceans.

  • Rendering of children and adults in the Shedd Aquarium new kelp forest
  • Rendering of Kelp forest tank with children and adults
  • Rendering of Kelp Overlook
  • Rendering of exhibit with whale skeleton
  • Rendering of octopus habitat with adults and children and Shedd staff

Rendering of children in learning commons with penguins and staff

Spring 2026

Lakeside Learning Studio

A technologically savvy, flexible launchpad for learning, the Lakeside Learning Studio will bring Shedd’s learning spaces up from the basement and into the core of the aquarium experience. This new, central home for learning will be available to all guests and contribute to a wider solution to address disparities in access to nature and educational opportunities – especially for historically disinvested communities on Chicago’s south and west sides. The Lakeside Learning Studio will also greatly increase Shedd’s capacity for facilitated learning experiences, increasing the number of students Shedd engages from 180,000 to beyond 230,000 annually.

Spring 2026

North Terrace

Dating back to the opening of the aquarium in 1930, our North Terrace serves as a stunning space to soak in the city skyline. Additional expansions not only accommodate guests for school visits, events and more, the increased square footage underneath the terrace will house critical husbandry support systems to power the new and improved habitats across the building.

Rendering of rivers exhibit with boy and man standing in front of a tank with a turtle
Rendering of Living Lakes exhibit

Winter 2026

River Wonders

The fully reimagined Rivers experience provides a participatory journey to explore the unseen and often overlooked animals that thrive in continually moving water systems. Sights, sounds and sensations of moving water crash and splash throughout these interactive habitats. Find yourself in freshwater river systems from around the world, featuring animals from Myanmar, Madagascar, India and here in Illinois.

Winter 2026

Living Lakes

From Africa to Australia and right here at home, life in lakes is dynamic and diverse. See how species beneath these still waters hunt, reproduce, forage and support our blue planet. Making up nearly one-fifth of the Earth’s surface, lakes provide a critical ecosystem for animal and human life. Interact with a living fossil at the sturgeon touch habitat and come eye-to-eye with cichlids, paddlefish, ancient lungfish and animals like sturgeon that can be found in Lake Michigan in Shedd’s backyard.

Kovler Hall rendering

Winter 2026

Grand Hall

This elegant and breathtaking hall has awed and invited guests since 1930. A reimagined design celebrates the historic art and contributions that make this space unique while creating a more welcoming and interactive atmosphere through spotting scopes, clusters of comfortable seating, touchable artifacts, surprise animal encounters and more.

Learn more about the Experience Evolution.