From boldly-colored fish and glowing coral to dreamlike patterns of wrasses and tangs, Shedd Aquarium’s new special exhibit, Underwater Beauty, aims to bring guests closer to the stunning and surprising spectrum of shapes, sizes, movement, patterns and colors that exist within the aquatic animal world to inspire the notion of “beauty worth saving.” Presented by Citadel, the exhibit opens to the public on Friday, May 25 with special members-only access beginning Friday, May 18.
“At Shedd Aquarium, we peel back the water’s surface to connect millions of people to the discovery of animals and life beneath,” said Bridget Coughlin, PhD, President and CEO of Shedd Aquarium. “This new special exhibit allows the opportunity to peek at the stunning and unexpected beauty of their world and to be enthralled by their remarkable biology and colorful adaptions. We want our guests to look nature in the eye and become inspired to take action – this is beauty worth saving.”
Featuring over a thousand animals representing 100 species from across the globe, including eels that ribbon, shrimp that can break glass, sea jellies that pulse and fish that swim backwards, Underwater Beauty welcomes guests with a water wall feature and showcases five distinct rooms, each designed to astound the senses and showcase a unique feature or form of beauty under the water’s surface. Several interactive stations also engage guests with colors, patterns and movement of the natural world.
“We are thrilled to help bring this spectacular ensemble of underwater animals to Chicago,” said Ken Griffin, Founder and CEO of Citadel. “Shedd is one of the city’s cultural crown jewels. We hope children and adults living in or visiting our great city will enjoy this wonderful new exhibit.”
Exhibit Room Features
Shimmer: Guests embark on their underwater journey in this first room, encountering hundreds of shimmering Atlantic false herrings (Harengula clupeola) and becoming mesmerized by the school of fish moving together in unison. They will discover the mesmerizing and intriguing light that these fish reflect underwater.
In the next room, Underwater Beauty celebrates the bold, vibrant spectrum of colors in a living rainbow of fishes – from ruby reds to luscious green plants and the deep violet of purple sea urchins (Stronglyocentrotus purpuratus). Multicolored lights drench guests while displays interpret how colors benefit aquatic life: corals and rock flower anemones (Phymanthus crucifer) reflect beautiful colors of light to help them thrive and grow; and peacock mantis shrimps (Odontodactylus scyllarus) can see colors humans can’t observe.
Busy and beautiful patterns dominate some of the most charismatic and recognizable aquatic creatures. This high-energy space showcases some of the most incredible displays of pattern and the purposes they serve. Discover how black stripes allow animals like the zebra pleco (Hypancistrus zebra) to hide in plain sight, how an inky-black spot on the tail of the four-eyed butterflyfish(Chaetodon capistratus) can deceive predators, and how pattern changes on a Northern studfish (Fundulus catenatus) entice the perfect mate.
Some of the underwater world’s most breathtaking beauty comes from how animals move through the water. When sea nettles (Chrysaora fuscescens) hypnotize guests as they pulse through the water and other animals sway, dart and dance, guests might find themselves moving to the beat of the aquatic world, literally. With a one-of-a-kind interactive, this active and kinetic space invites guests to become part of the exhibit as they mimic and control the motions of animated animals, including an octopus, a cuttlefish, a barracuda or a seahorse.
Dozens of species – shimmering discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus), rainbowfish (Melanotaenia boesemani), gouramis (Trichogaster churna) and more – separate themselves into loose schools and highlight how freshwater lakes, rivers and streams also have beautiful, diverse aquatic life. “Move You” offers guests opportunities for quiet reflection with a relaxing soundscape.
“At Shedd Aquarium, beauty is weird, different, stunning, and unexpected,” said Tynnetta Qaiyim, Vice President of Planning and Design. “Underwater Beauty gives us a chance to celebrate the countless forms of beauty found in the aquatic world and become inspired to take action for beauty worth saving.”
Underwater Beauty is included in general admission.
General admission: Adult $39.95*, child (3-11) $29.95*
Chicago residents: Adult $19.95*, child (3-11) $14.95* A 50% discount!