Open 9 am - 6 pm
Museum Campus parking availability and cost will be impacted by a concert taking place at Soldier Field. Taking public transportation is highly recommended.

Fun, Festive Indoor Activities for the Holiday Season at Shedd Aquarium

Escape from the cold and dive into the aquatic animal world

November 29, 2022

A boy sits on the edge of his seat in the 4D theater

Enjoy time away from the cold, exploring the aquarium, and coming eye to eye with aquatic animals from many different environments – some chilly like Chicago, and others tropical! Visit with furry, rescued sea otters, come eye-to-eye with a 10-foot 7-inch green anaconda, view a holiday 4D film, encounter arctic-dwelling belugas or find the perfect gifts!


Guest are invited on an extraordinary 4D adventure this holiday season on THE POLAR EXPRESS™! When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. THE POLAR EXPRESS™4D Experience® is based on the inspiring and beloved Caldecott Medal winning children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg and activates all the senses!

  • Daily at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., and 5 p.m. (6 p.m. closing)
  • Guest: $4.95, Members: $2.95


Looking for the perfect gift for friends and family? Shedd Aquarium has plenty of ideas and experiences for the aquatic animal lover on your list, and our commitment to sustainability extends to purchases made through our stores.

  • Stop by Shedd’s store during a visit for animal plush toys and other cool Shedd swag. 
  • Give the gift that keeps on giving all year round with the gift of an annual membership! 
  • Give the gift of an unforgettable animal encounter! Extraordinary Experiences provide a picture-perfect chance to come face-to-face with the animals that call Shedd home, including otters and belugas.  
  • Consider booking a once-in-a-lifetime trip with Shedd Adventures for you and a friend or loved one!  


Must See guided tours give guests the opportunity to experience the best of Shedd. Guests will learn green sea turtle Nickel’s rescue story, sit in the best seats in the house for an Animal Spotlight and chat with an animal care expert. Additionally, guests will go behind the scenes for an in-depth look at the many sharks in the Wild Reef exhibit and visit the Pacific white-sided dolphins and beluga whales. The tour is led by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide and lasts about 75 minutes.  

  • Daily at 11:00 a.m. and 1 p.m., Additional 3 p.m. tour on select days. 
  • Adults (12 and older): $75, Children (6-11): $65, Members (6 and older): $40. Admission to the aquarium is included with the purchase of a tour 
  • Ages: 6 years and older. Participants 6 to 17 years old must be accompanied by a participating adult.  


See how the sharks and rays feast at Shedd! This 75-minute front and behind-the-scenes feeding tour starts with an in-depth look at Wild Reef, which transports guests 8,000 miles to an exuberant Indo-Pacific reef. Then guests enter the animal care area to witness mealtime with the ocean's most dynamic, and misunderstood, predators. They'll learn how we prepare diets of restaurant-grade seafood for each species and see how the sharks have been trained to respond to each individual shark’s version of a dinner bell.

  • Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. through Dec. 2022
  • Adults: $94.95, Child (6-11): $84.95, Member: $50.00  


Guests can meet the belugas where they live! Standing side by side with a caretaker on an underwater ledge, in this 75-minute experience guests will step into chest-deep water and come face to face with a beluga whale, with opportunities to gently touch them and to try a few training techniques!

  • Offered select dates at 9:45 a.m. or 1:45 p.m. through Dec. 2022. 
  • Guest: $200, Member: $170


At Shedd, we define enrichment as anything that provides an animal with additional mental or physical activity. Enrichment can take many different forms, from new toys to new training techniques. Teen guests can join a rewarding workshop that highlights how we provide high this aspect of quality care to animals at Shedd.

  • Saturday, Dec. 10 from 1 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Free


Shedd Aquarium is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, please visit Please note the following special hours: 

  • Sunday, Dec. 4 – 5 p.m. close
  • Sunday, Dec. 11 – 5 p.m. close
  • Sunday, Dec. 18 – 5 p.m. close
  • Friday, Dec. 23 – 6 p.m. close
  • Saturday, Dec. 24 – 3 p.m. close
  • Sunday, Dec. 25 – Closed  
  • Monday-Friday, Dec. 26-30 – 6 p.m. close
  • Saturday, Dec. 31 – 5 p.m. close
  • Sunday, Jan. 1 – 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Visuals: High-resolution visuals are available for download and preview: Photos: B-Roll: Photo Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium