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The Aquatic Animal World for All: Fall Experiences at Shedd Aquarium

With Countless Experiences for Guests of All Ages, Chicago’s Aquarium Provides Endless Opportunities to Explore

September 20, 2022

A boy and his father work on decorating a reusable bag with markers during one of Shedd's family events.

This fall, Shedd Aquarium offers numerous ways for guests to follow where their curiosity leads and further engage with the aquatic animal world. From overnights with the fishes, free programs for teens to explore career interests and conservation topics and Action Days to conserve local habitats, there are opportunities for anyone from anywhere to look nature in the eye.


Shedd Scouts:


Those who wonder what is beneath the waves are welcome to explore the marine world at Shedd with this deep dive into the different branches of oceanography. Topics will range from ocean topography, water chemistry, to—of course—aquatic life! Guided by Shedd experts, participants complete prerequisites beforehand and leave with the Boy Scouts of America Oceanography Merit Badge!

  • Cost: $45 per child ($40 for members) (Adults who would like to accompany a child are an extra $5 due to limited space during certain activities)
  • Dates: Saturday, Oct. 22, and Saturday, Dec. 10, from 12 - 5 p.m.
  • Ages: This program is designed for members of Scouts in grades 6-12; however, non-scouts are welcome to participate!

Career Exploration

Scouts with a passion for animals are invited to join Shedd’s experts to learn about a day in the life of an aquarist: the animal care staff that work with animals ranging from fishes to reptiles to birds. Participants will also meet other Shedd professionals and explore the wide variety of jobs needed to make the aquarium run. Scouts will receive a Shedd Aquarium patch to remember the experience.

  • Cost: $45 per child ($40 for members) (Adults accompanying a child are free)
  • Dates: Saturday, Nov. 12 and Saturday, Dec. 3, from 12 - 3 p.m.
  • Ages: This program is designed for members of Scouts in grades 6-12; however, non-scouts are welcome to participate!

Marine Biologist

This workshop gives insight into the study of different aquatic animals at Shedd, including the leopard shark and sea turtle. Participants will visit animals at Shedd while practicing research techniques that marine biologists use to answer questions about animals and their habitats. During this special workshop designed for Scouts, participants will meet animals, get hands-on with games and activities and explore this unique career. Every Scout will leave with a one-of-a-kind Shedd Aquarium Marine Biologist patch.

  • Cost: $35 per child ($30 for members) (Adults accompanying a child are free)
  • Dates: Saturday, Dec. 17 - All groups welcome, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. or Girl Scouts only, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
  • Ages: This program is designed for Scouts in grades 2–5. One adult is required to attend for every five children. This is not a drop off program.

Teen Nature Days

Teen Nature Days provide opportunities for teens to help our blue planet by taking action for animals and the environment in their local communities. Teens will get to explore local beaches, waterways and forest preserves while helping to restore and protect them and meeting new friends! Programs include removing invasive species from a local forest preserve and observing local ecosystems in the Chicagoland area.

  • Cost: Free, registration required
  • Dates: Saturdays, Oct. 1, Oct. 22 and Nov. 12. Times are program specific
  • Location: All programs meet at Shedd and provide transportation to local environments
  • Ages: 14-18; Teens currently enrolled in high school or equivalent

Teen Workshops

Teens can connect with animals, peers and Shedd staff while learning about local and global conservation and exploring careers at Shedd. Topics, including animal enrichment at Shedd, reptiles, seasonal changes and more, allow teens to discover new interests, engage in STEAM topics and investigate the aquatic world!

  • Cost: Free, registration required
  • Dates: Saturdays, Sept. 24, Oct. 8, Nov. 19 and Dec. 10 from 1-3 p.m.
  • Ages: 14 - 18 years old or currently enrolled in high school or equivalent



At our Asleep with the Fishes overnights, families or groups will see the aquarium like never before—at night! Overnights are designed for families and groups with children ages 5-12. All overnights include animal and science activities, an animal spotlight, animal encounters, aquatic crafts, a scavenger hunt and a Caribbean Reef feeding dive. Guests will also be free to explore any of the open exhibit spaces throughout the evening.

  • Cost: $85 per person ($70 for members), evening only $40 per person ($30 per member).
  • Dates: Saturday, Oct. 15 - Sunday, Oct. 16, Friday, Oct. 28 - Saturday, Oct. 29 and Friday, Nov. 18 - Saturday, Nov. 19.


Kayak for Conservation

Guests are invited to learn, experience and take action for nature in a fun and engaging way by joining a guided paddle of the Chicago River! The pay-what-you-can Kayak for Conservation tours, where guests paddle the Chicago River guided by a Shedd nature expert, offer the opportunity to look nature in the eye and learn about innovative efforts to improve the health of the Chicago River for wildlife —all while taking in the beauty of our city. Kayaks will be supplied by Kayak Chicago through an arrangement with Shedd Aquarium, and no experience kayaking is required to participate.

  • Cost: Pay-what-you-can registration ranges from $20–$100 per participant (we recommend $45, the base cost of the program), $375 for groups up to 8, and $750 for groups of 9-15
  • Dates: Thursday, Sept. 22, Friday, Sept. 23, Saturday, Sept. 24, Thursday, Sept. 29, Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1
  • Location: Kayak Chicago, 1220 W LeMoyne, Chicago, IL 60642

Action Days

Action Days provide guided opportunities to make a difference for the local aquatic world! Participants can volunteer and take action for animals on a Shedd Aquarium Action Day by restoring and protecting nearby beaches, waterways and forest preserves. Participants will support animals from frogs to fish while having fun and learning along the way. Typical Action Day activities include removing litter and invasive plant species, collecting seeds and planting native aquatic plants.

  • Cost: Free
  • Dates for both Woodland Habitat Restoration and Coastal Habitat Restoration are to take place Sept.-Nov. on select Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Must-See Tours

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 guide and lasts about 75 minutes.

  • Cost: Adults (12 and older) $75.00, Children (6-11) $65.00, Members (6 and older) $40.00. Admission to the aquarium is included with the purchase of a tour
  • Dates: Daily at 11:00 a.m. and 1 p.m., Additional 3 p.m. tour on select days.
  • Ages: 6 years and older. Participants 6 to 17 years old must be accompanied by a participating adult.

VISUALS: High-resolution b-roll and photos are available for download:

Photo Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium