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Shedd Aquarium Travel Offerings Promise Immersive Exploration in Extraordinary Environments

July 26, 2022

A cruise ship sails among icy mountains.

Photo by: © PONANT/Laurence Fischer

Inspired by the continuous curiosity of aquarium guests, Shedd is hosting a variety of expert-led travel opportunities throughout 2022 and 2023 for participants to further explore their interest in amazing aquatic life and the wonders of the blue planet. With offerings in different regions of the world and a variety of research and learning components, Shedd Adventures travel programs provide access to up-close animal encounters, including sharks, penguins, seals and sea turtles, expeditions to beautiful locations and a diverse array of conservation and animal care topics, with opportunities to aid in surveying and conservation-minded exploration.

These experiences contribute to Shedd’s mission to spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world, providing a unique and deeply engaging opportunity to foster a love of learning and a greater appreciation for animals and ecosystems.

See below for specific information about the opportunities offered in 2022 and 2023.

Dry Tortugas Research Expedition: Florida Keys

This diving expedition takes place aboard Shedd Aquarium’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II, which transports participants to one of the least-visited U.S. National Parks. Few people experience diving in this incredible environment due to the challenges associated with accessing this remote location. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the self-proclaimed Conch Republic and we will celebrate by performing the first large-scale survey of threatened queen conch in Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park. The data collected will be invaluable for managing and preserving this important species. Additional activities include exploring the coral reefs and seagrass beds in Dry Tortugas National Park and the historic Fort Jefferson, a preserved U.S. military base.

  • Dates: August 17 – 26, 2022
  • Cost: $4,500/participant

Journey to Antarctica: Antarctic Peninsula

Throughout participants’ adventures in this icy realm, they will be surrounded by exceptional wildlife. Penguins, humpback whales, seals and giant petrels are at home here, as are elephant seals, fur seals, Antarctic minke whales and orcas. Participants will travel with Peggy Sloan, Shedd’s Chief Animal Operations Officer, on this 10-night cruise aboard the Le Lyrial, to the southernmost continent during the austral summer, when the days are long and relatively mild when seabirds are courting and massive icebergs are in the midst of an annual thaw.

  • Dates: February 20 – March 3, 2023
  • Cost: Starts at $10,970/participant (price varies by stateroom category)

Baja and the Sea of Cortez: Baja California Sur

As one of the most biologically diverse seas on the planet, the Sea of Cortez offers some of the best marine life viewing in the world, with the opportunity to swim with whale sharks and sea lion pups and interact with gray whales up close. Participants will be joined by shark biologist Dr. Steve Kessel who is well versed in the aquatic life encountered during the trip. Participants will experience “glamping” on Isla Espiritu Santo, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as hiking, kayaking and paddle boarding on and around the stunning island in several different locations. This trip is perfect for conservation-minded travelers who want to experience an action-packed adventure.

  • Dates: February 28 – March 7, 2023
  • Cost: $3,500/participant

Voyage along the Great Lakes: Toronto/Milwaukee

Participants will travel with Dr. Karen Murchie, Shedd’s Director of Freshwater Research, as well as Smithsonian Journey hosts, and will discover the timeless beauty of the Great Lakes. During this week-long cruise aboard Le Dumont d’Urville, highlights will include seeing the engineering marvels of the Welland Canal and the Soo Locks and witnessing the natural marvels of Niagara Falls and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Georgian Bay.

  • Dates: October 9 – 16, 2023
  • Cost: $6,270/participant

Indonesia Megadiversity Expedition: Sail the Spice Islands to Raja Ampat

Participants will live aboard the boutique vessel El Aleph and take part in an exceptional “off-the-grid” itinerary that highlights Indonesia’s remarkable biodiversity. This trip of a lifetime takes participants from the Spice Islands to Raja Ampat, where they will have a chance to see up close an emerging native-species conservation project led by Shedd Aquarium in partnership with organizations from around the globe. On this adventure, participants will be accompanied by Shedd’s Senior Director of Animal Operation & Habitat, Mark Shick, who will be eager to share his passion for aquatic life from fish to coral with participants as they look nature in the eye above and below the surface.

  • Dates: October 24 – November 2, 2023
  • Cost: $13,950/participant

To sign up for a program or for more information, please visit:

VISUALS: High resolution visuals can be found here:

Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium