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 to be completed.
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.
An expansive habitat window, which arches overhead, gives guests an impressive view of towering kelp forests and the animals that swim among them. This recreation of a California kelp habitat is alive with glittery schooling fishes, swell sharks, leopard sharks and all manner of stunning aquatic animals.
When a whale dies, animals come from miles away to feed on the body, creating a temporal habitat on an otherwise barren ocean floor that can last for years. Did you know that whales sequester tons of carbon dioxide and help mitigate the effects of climate change by carrying that carbon to the ocean floor when they die? Explore an environment at the bottom of the sea through multi-sensory experiences, touch the sculpted animals living on whale bones and hear the orchestra of the ocean from the depths below.
Emerge from the ocean into the extensive, all-new Caribbean reef habitat of the future with a walk-through tunnel. Become fully immersed in the beauty of a rich coral reef and a bustling underwater community. Not everyone has the fortune or opportunity to go SCUBA diving, but this habitat offers a divers-eye-view of life on the reef! Eye-catching corals, busy fishes and sleek predators like blacktipped reef sharks and goliath groupers cruise overhead. See if you can spot an spotted eagle ray — this graceful animal has a wingspan of up to 10 feet! And, of course, wave hello to Nickel, our beloved rescued green turtle, as she swims along in her new home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read more about how we are evolving our aquarium to be more immersive, accessible, bilingual and science-rich.
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...