Inspired by animals and regions of the world that intrigue guests during their visit to the aquarium, Shedd is hosting a suite of custom-designed travel opportunities throughout 2020. Go on an aquatic adventure alongside the aquarium’s animal experts through the “Shedd Adventures” travel program. Participants can choose to travel to the Azores, The Bahamas or Greenland and Nunavut in the High Arctic where they will encounter a stunning array of marine life.
“Whether you’re looking for an active journey, getting hands-on as a citizen scientist or cruising to take in spectacular views that can only be seen by vessel, there is a perfectly curated trip for any traveler who loves nature, the outdoors and wildlife,” said Shannon Fuller, assistant director of conservation travel at Shedd Aquarium.
One new addition to the lineup this year is an adventure to explore the diversity of the Azores while hiking, biking and paddling to see volcanic formations and go whale watching alongside Kurt Heizmann, supervisor of marine mammals at Shedd Aquarium. Another is a trip to The Bahamas with Dr. Ross Cunning to contribute to Shedd’s ongoing research to understand how to sustain coral reef ecosystems in the face of a changing climate. Also, there are two trips specifically for teens accompanied by Shedd’s instructors to get firsthand experience learning about aquatic science and exploring the ecology of freshwater or marine environments.
PHOTOS/VIDEO: High resolution photos and b-roll footage of Shedd Aquarium’s travel expeditions are available for download: https://personal.filesanywhere.com/fs/v.aspx?v=8e6a638b616774be739c.Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium
“Whether you’re looking for an active journey, getting hands-on as a citizen scientist or cruising to take in spectacular views that can only be seen by vessel, there is a perfectly curated trip for any traveler,”Shannon Fuller, assistant director of conservation travel at Shedd Aquarium
2020 ADVENTURES WITH ANIMAL EXPERTS
Sea to Volcanoes: Discover the Diversity of the Azores
One of Europe’s best-kept secrets, the Azores – a volcanic archipelago in the Mid-Atlantic – is a largely undiscovered magnet for marine life. Experience an active journey hiking, biking and exploring the diversity of the Azores. Learn about the volcanic formations of the island, enjoy whale watching, relax in the natural thermal pools, sip local wine at the Pico Island vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and so much more. Take in the expansive views by kayak, paddleboard and bicycle. Hosted by Kurt Heizmann, supervisor of marine mammals, who is excited to introduce explorers to magnificent marine wildlife, sharing his passion for the ocean and even showing you how your everyday activities can help protect the animals you will encounter.
- · Dates: April 16-24, 2020
- · Approximate Cost: $4,995 - $5,790
Study Sharks on a Research Expedition
Join Shedd Aquarium for a citizen science opportunity on a shark research expedition in The Bahamas aboard the aquarium’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II. Participants contribute to meaningful conservation efforts with a variety of shark species, all while getting hands-on experience conducting field research alongside shark expert, Dr. Steve Kessel, Shedd’s director of marine research. Data collected contributes to the aquarium’s ongoing research to assess regional abundance and biodiversity of sharks in The Bahamas, assess the near and far benefits of The Bahamas Shark Sanctuary, and investigate the relationship between ecosystem health and shark abundance.
- Dates: April 22-30, 2020
- Approximate Cost: $4,500
Conserving Critically Endangered Iguanas on a Research Expedition
Get your feet wet and your hands dirty to make a difference for wildlife conservation. Expect to work hard, learn a lot and find adventure as you explore Andros Island in The Bahamas in search of iguanas to collect crucial data on these critically endangered species. This citizen-science driven trip is hosted by Dr. Chuck Knapp, vice president of conservation and research at Shedd Aquarium, who is as passionate about iguanas and their ecosystem as he is knowledgeable. Since the early 1990s, he’s been actively studying and conserving rock iguanas. As part of the long-term project, participants will have a hands-on role with the fieldwork each day by taking measurements, weighing and tracking iguanas.
- Dates: May 29-June 8, 2020
- Approximate Cost: $2,995
Cruising Through the High Arctic
From humpback and beluga whales to caribou and polar bears, explorers board the MS Ocean Endeavor for a breathtaking experience with views that can only be seen by vessel. Encounter Inuit culture and diverse wildlife as you sail the seas of the Arctic at the height of summer! Learn about marine wildlife and the effects of climate change while exploring this beautiful region from Greenland to Nunavut. This journey includes visiting the Franklin Expedition graves at Beechey Island, seeking marine life at Canada’s largest and newest marine protected area, hiking on the largest uninhabited island on Earth, and so much more. Cheryl Mell, senior vice president of conservation partnerships and programs at Shedd Aquarium, will be the expert host during this journey to one of Earth’s great wild spaces.
- Dates: July 30-Aug. 11, 2020
- Approximate Cost: $10,195-$14,095
Sustaining Coral Reefs on a Research Expedition (One Spot Left!)
Experience what it’s like to be a marine biologist on this first-of-its-kind citizen science coral research expedition in The Bahamas aboard Shedd Aquarium’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II. Participants will do hands-on fieldwork alongside Shedd research biologist Dr. Ross Cunning. You’ll contribute to Cunning’s cutting-edge work to understand how to sustain coral reef ecosystems in the face of a changing climate. Cunning’s findings will help reveal how some corals may be able to resist or adapt to climate change and will be applied to improving coral reef restoration techniques. No formal research experience is necessary, but scuba diving certification and experience are required.
- Dates: Aug. 5-13, 2020
- Approximate Cost: $3,900
Surveying Reef Fishes and Corals
Dive into this collaborative citizen science opportunity to monitor the health of coral reefs and fish populations in The Bahamas, data from which will inform sustainable management practices and ensure healthy reefs. Aboard Shedd’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II, and under the direction of Shedd’s research biologists and animal care experts, you will learn about marine biology, fish identification and research survey techniques. Be prepared to spend a lot of your day underwater! No formal research experience is necessary, but scuba diving certification and experience are required.
- Dates: Oct. 16-25, 2020
- Approximate Cost: $2,995
Teen Science Expedition: Apostle Islands
Learners get firsthand experience learning about aquatic science and exploring the ecology of the Great Lakes region. Camp in the wilderness on this adventurous, active expedition where participants will kayak through North America’s largest freshwater lake to discover the beauties of Lake Superior’s natural treasures. Led by Shedd Aquarium’s instructors and scientists, learners will practice conducting science experiments and methods in the field to learn about animals, paddle to remote islands accessed by a limited number of people each year, go on guided hikes and so much more.
- Dates: July 8-14, 2020
- Approximate Cost: $1,750
Teen Science Expedition: The Bahamas
Learners get firsthand experience exploring the coral reefs of The Bahamas, using scientific techniques to learn about the animals and their habitats. Working from Shedd’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II, participants experience life as a marine science researcher, immersing yourself in discoveries by conducting research and learning about important Bahamian ecological challenges. This expedition includes snorkeling in coral reefs, mangrove forests and seagrass beds, conducting science experiments and practicing methods in the field to gain an understanding of coral reef ecosystems, and so much more all alongside Shedd Aquarium instructors and scientists.
- Dates: July 16-23, 2020 and July 25-Aug. 1, 2020
- Approximate Cost: $2,999