Open 9 am - 5 pm

Shedd Aquarium Expands Access to the Aquatic Animal World with Illinois Resident Free Days this Fall

On Select Dates in September and October, General Admission to the Aquarium is Free for Illinoisans

August 30, 2023

The large shark habitat in Wild Reef curves over the heads of visitors.

Starting after Labor Day, Shedd Aquarium will offer September and October Illinois Resident Free Days on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the two months.

On these select free days, with valid ID or proof of residency, Illinois residents receive free general admission, which includes access to all exhibits at Shedd, as well as to the several daily animal spotlights, alternately featuring natural behaviors from Pacific white-sided dolphins, beluga whales, penguins or California sea lions. Guests can explore the aquatic world further with special, add-on activities like 4-D Experiences, including the new Penguin 4D film, or Virtual Reality Experiences.

Tickets must be secured online before a visit to reduce wait time, ensure dates are not sold-out and for the best possible guest experience. Free admission will only be granted to guests with reserved free tickets. To reserve tickets, visit

WHEN: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting Tuesday, Sept. 5 through Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. Times for each date are online.

WHERE: Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

Our building is evolving - we are constructing a refreshed accessible entrance to more quickly and seamlessly connect guests with the aquatic animal world as part of Shedd’s Experience Evolution. During this transformation, guests will enter the aquarium along the half-circle driveway and proceed up the ramp behind the temporary ticketing booth. More details about entry and other tips for planning a visit can be found on the “Plan a Visit” page.

HOW: Tickets must be secured ahead of a visit using Shedd’s website.

Please note: A transaction fee applies to all Illinois Resident Free Day tickets reserved online. This helps ensure access to as many neighbors as possible by validating orders.

All adults must provide proof of residency in person when redeeming tickets at a discounted rate. For the latest information about the aquarium hours and discounts, please visit the “Plan a Visit” page.

VISUALS: High resolution photos of Shedd Aquarium can be found here:

Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Videos can be found here:

Video credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Sam Cejtin