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Underwater Beauty—A new special exhibit

A photo of Shedd Aquarium's new special exhibit, Underwater Beauty, featuring a winding corridor of habitats interspersed with digital and physical interactive experiences.

A moorish idol and scribbled angelfish swim in a rocky habitat, some of the larger fish compared to the orange anthias in the background.

A closeup of a harlequin tuskfish as it turns toward the viewer; this relatively small, blue-and-orange striped fish is strikingly colorful, though its most surprising feature is its sharp blue teeth, visible even when the fish's mouth is closed.

A man holds up a young boy so that he can peer into the top of a large well-lit habitat in Underwater Beauty, Shedd's new special exhibit.

A weedy seadragon floating at Shedd Aquarium.

 A flower hat Jelly at Shedd Aquarium.

Two adults peer into an exhibit in Shedd's Underwater Beauty special exhibit.

Underwater Beauty

Shedd Aquarium’s latest special exhibit is the most diverse in the aquarium’s history, with animals representing 100+ species from across the globe. Broken up into different rooms — each highlighting unique and beautiful aquatic adaptations — Underwater Beauty celebrates how animals are beautifully adapted to thrive in their environment. From elusive ribbon eels to powerful mantis shrimp, the exhibit also inspires guests to recognize that our waterways are home to beauty worth saving.

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Two newly hatched Blanding's turtles fit easily in the palm of a veterinarian's hand.

Facts and Impacts

Each year, Shedd Aquarium welcomes nearly 2 million guests, who seek out the opportunity to come eye-to-eye with nature and participate in encounters with unbelievable animals. This footprint is made possible through special access programs, learning partnerships with local schools and more. But the aquarium is more than a destination. The support generated from guests attending the aquarium directly fuels Shedd’s critical scientific research, rescue and conservation efforts both at home in the Great Lakes and around the world.

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Guests look up at the schooling fish swirling above their heads in the Wild Reef exhibit.


Shedd’s exhibits connect guests to incredible animals from around the world — and close to home. Visitors can dive deep into coral reefs and flooded rainforests and stroll along the craggy Pacific Northwest coast. Whether it’s the fresh, cool Great Lakes or warm waves of the Caribbean, Shedd’s many exhibits reveal the secrets of our planet’s waters.

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A young woman stands in waist-deep water in Shedd's Oceanarium, her eyes scrunched shut as a beluga whale, its head lifted out of the water a few feet away, sprays cold salt water over her head.


There are several ways that guests can customize their visit to Shedd through special animal encounters and behind-the-scenes experiences. Whether they are feeling the back of a cownose ray, taking in an immersive 4-D film or stepping into chilly water with a beluga whale, the programs are meant to bring guests even closer to the mission of the aquarium and inspire wonder for the aquatic world and a desire to protect it.

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Shedd’s Animal Response Team assists SANCCOB to release rescued penguin chicks.

Animal Response Team

From stranded sea otter pups in Alaska to abandoned penguin chicks in South Africa, Shedd’s Animal Response Team applies its expertise in animal care to respond when wildlife is in urgent need. Comprised of aquarists, trainers, veterinarians and more, our team works with partners around the globe to rescue and rehabilitate animals.

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A diver reaches for a conch on the bottom of the ocean.

Field Research

Shedd Aquarium conducts applied scientific research to preserve biodiversity and ensure a balance between humans and nature. Shedd’s portfolio of freshwater and marine research programs aims to understand and mitigate the impacts of the most serious threats to biodiversity, including overfishing, urban development, invasive species and climate change.

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Solar panels were installed on the terraced roof of Shedd's Oceanarium, set in curved rows.

Sustainable Practices

At Shedd, we take conservation action in a myriad of ways. One of these ways is by operating our building with the future of our planet in mind. Shedd Aquarium’s commitment to sustainable building operations focuses on energy, water and waste, and extends into all facets of aquarium operations.

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Shedd researcher Karen Murchie, Ph.D., stands in a cold local stream taking measurements.


Conservation is at the core of Shedd Aquarium's mission, guiding our efforts to engage the public by the millions, protect species and preserve the ecological integrity of aquatic ecosystems. Shedd’s conservation impacts run deep through the aquarium’s operations and programs.

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