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New Sensory Friendly Offerings Expand Shedd's Accessibility Offerings

Updates to the Sensory Friendly Mobile App, a Quiet Room and New Calm Water Dates

March 13, 2019

A Shedd staff member holds up a tactile model of a tortoise shell for an accessibility consultant with a visual disability to consider.

As part of a continued commitment to foster a welcoming and inclusive culture, Shedd Aquarium is expanding its accessibility offerings for guests with autism or a sensory friendly processing disorder in mind. Whether it be helping set expectations while planning for a visit or offering a quiet, comfortable location at the aquarium, Shedd aims to ensure there are no boundaries to experiencing all its offerings.

Sensory Friendly Mobile App Updates

Prepare for a visit to the aquarium to set expectations and ease anxiety with Shedd's Sensory Friendly App, created in partnership with Infiniteach, which can be downloaded for free from iTunes and Google Play. Now offered in Spanish, guests can switch their language settings under profile and language. Additional updates include a tap-to-zoom feature and a timer that allows users to transition or keep guests on schedule.

As previously offered when it launched, the mobile application includes a visual schedule, communication tools, sensory friendly maps, tips for visits, and video social guides that offer information about individual exhibit spaces, including photos, tips on temperature and noise levels.

Quiet Room

During a visit, guests can step away from the sights, sounds, smells and crowds as needed. A new dedicated space that can be used as a calming room, prayer room or place to privately recharge mobility devices, Shedd’s Quiet Room is available for guests visiting during peak times Thursdays – Sundays. The room, designed for single family or single person use, includes comfortable seating, adjustable lighting, weighted lap pad, sound reducing headphones and a prayer rug. Located in the Northern Trust Suite in Shedd’s main lobby formally named Kovler Family Hall.

Calm Waters

On select dates, Shedd is offering extended hours for guests with disabilities to experience the aquarium in a comfortable and accepting environment. Modifications include limited capacity and streamlined entry with advanced registration. Tickets are available for purchase for $24.95 online.

  • Sunday, March 17 from 8-10 a.m.
  • Monday, May 6 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

PHOTOS: Available for download:
Photo Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez