Open 9 am - 5 pm
Illinois Resident Free Day

Shedd Aquarium Expands Access for Guests with Disabilities

Exclusive Events Offers Extend Hours, Limited Capacity and Streamlined Entry

October 03, 2018

A child wearing sound reducing headphones and a mother look at the Sensory Friendly App on their phone in front of Caribbean Reef at Shedd.

As part of Shedd’s accessibility and inclusion initiatives, the aquarium will be hosting its first-ever Calm Waters: Extended Hours for Guests with Disabilities events. Attendees will have an opportunity to explore all exhibits and experiences in a comfortable and accepting environment. Modifications include limited capacity and streamlined entry with advanced registration.

“Offering extended hours is a common and effective way to reduce stimuli, as well as cut down on crowds along with the noise that ensues, and we knew there was interest based on discussions with community partners,” said Lynn Walsh, manager of accessibility and inclusion at Shedd. “Our hope is to provide greater access and an inclusive environment so we can better connect our audience with the aquatic animal world.”

All Calm Waters events will feature a Caribbean Reef dive, during which you can watch a scuba diver explore the habitat alongside the animals, a 4-D Experience that combines the elements of a 3-D film with additional sensory effects like water mist and bubbles, plus an opportunity to learn how Shedd’s marine mammal trainers care for our largest residents. Guests will also be free to explore any of the open exhibit spaces and touch experiences.

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 16 from 4:30-7 p.m.
           Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 4:30-7 p.m.   

PRICES: Tickets must be purchased in advance: $10 (Free for members)

WHERE: Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Ill.   

Transportation to Shedd:

  • Take CTA’s 146 Museum Campus bus to our door, or parking will be available for $25 in the surface lot between Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum.
  • Drop-off is available at Shedd’s bus loop on the south side of the building.
  • Guests can receive $10 off an Uber ride to or from the Calm Waters visit, sign up with the code CALMWATERS1 (for Oct. 16) or CALMWATERS2 (for Nov. 14) at