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Shedd Aquarium Penguins Bring Conservation to Chicago Restaurant Week

March 25, 2021

Two rockhopper penguins inspect a mug filled with fish.

Three Magellanic penguins from Shedd Aquarium made a special visit to Shaw’s Crab House in Chicago to celebrate and support Chicago Restaurant Week and bring attention to an important conservation issue impacting aquatic animals across the globe: plastic pollution. Shaw’s, part of the Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, is one of several restaurants participating in Chicago Restaurant Week that have committed to reducing their single-use plastic footprint via Shedd’s new Let’s Shedd Plastic program for restaurants.

Let’s Shedd Plastic empowers restaurants to take feasible and measurable steps toward reducing their plastic footprint, which has only increased because of the pandemic. Offering the aquarium’s expertise to restaurant partners that join the program, Shedd hopes to engage restaurants from all 77 neighborhoods of the city to create a healthier and more sustainable, plastic-free future for people and aquatic life. A current list of participating restaurants can be found here.

Chicago Restaurant Week, led by Choose Chicago, is a 17-day dining extravaganza featuring nearly 300 participating restaurants throughout Chicagoland offering specially priced prix fixe menus at brunch, lunch and dinner. Participating restaurants have COVID-19 safety precautions in place to ensure a safe dining experience and for the first time is offering carryout and delivery options this year for folks who prefer to support from home. Efforts like Chicago Restaurant Week are an integral part in the overall recovery of the city of Chicago and encourages Chicagoans to support the local restaurant industry, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

The field trip to Shaw’s provided great exercise for Shedd’s penguin ambassadors, adding variety to their day and engaging their senses as they explored a new space. The visit also highlights the role of restaurants in fighting plastic pollution and illustrates how the threat of plastics is directly related to the health and wellbeing of the aquatic world. The aquarium is proud to collaborate with other accredited zoos and aquariums on a Species Survival Plan for Magellanic penguins, contributing to conservation and education efforts and helping the public understand how our collective actions are integral to safeguarding the species.

WHEN: Chicago Restaurant Week runs from March 19 through April 4.

WHERE: To see a full list of Chicago Restaurant Week participating restaurants and menus, click here. Check out Shaw’s Crab House – Chicago’s Restaurant Week menus for dine-in and carryout, here. For a full list of the more than 30 Lettuce Entertain You restaurants participating in Chicago Restaurant Week, click here.

VIDEOTilly, Olivia and Dolores, three Magellanic penguins from Shedd Aquarium explore Shaw’s Crab House, adding physical exercise and variety to their day as part of their overall welfare plan. The visit also highlights Chicago Restaurant Week and encourages Chicagoans and restaurants to consider how we can all reduce our single-use plastic footprint to protect aquatic life. Shaw’s Crab House was closed to the public during the penguins’ field trip and all the proper cleaning and sanitization procedures were followed.

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Video credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Gavin Wright
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez