Open 9 am - 5 pm
The Amazon Rising exhibit at Shedd features a high-ceilinged, naturally lit space with open-topped habitats all around so that visitors can experience the sounds of the Amazon.

Amazon Rising

From shimmering piranhas to electric eels, explore the Amazon River basin—the largest river system and rainforest on Earth! Experience a year along the great river, watching its floodwaters rise to tree-top level, then recede back to its banks, leaving the land renewed. See how fishes and frogs, tarantulas and turtles, birds, snakes and people, too, have adapted to and thrive in the yearly cycle of wet and dry.

  • A white blotched river stingray's white spots help it blend in to the murky sand of its riverbed home.

    HIDDEN!

    Flat as the river bottom, huge freshwater rays are further camouflaged by their patterns.

  • A bue poison dart frog sits among tigs and leaves in its habitat, small but brilliantly blue against its green and brown surroundings.

    TOXIC!

    Tiny poison dart frogs don't have to hide. Their bright colors advertise that they're toxic.

  • A closeup picture of an arapaima's oblong, flat-topped head. The fish's jaw is very large and takes up the front third of its enormous face, which from lip to gill is about a foot long. It has small round eyes set near the flat top of its head behind its mouth, and its head ends in large gills for breathing in murky Amazon rivers.

    HUGE!

    Growing up to 10 feet long, the arapaima is one of the world's largest freshwater fishes. 

Seasons of the river

From cacao to caimans, the Amazon is renowned for its dizzying array of plant and animal species. Annual flooding transforms the forest into a place where fishes swim among trees and find new opportunities for food and shelter. The species that have evolved in this rich setting are interlinked in complex connections of predator and prey, plant and pollinator, producer and user. The whole ecosystem depends on the continued survival of each of its parts to remain healthy.

The green anaconda at Shedd is about 14 feet long, with a thickly muscled sinuous body designed for constricting its prey.

Amazon Rising audio guide

Hear how anacondas, arapaimas and electric eels are adapted to their rainforest homes.

Learn more

A tiger ray swims in the Amazon Rising habitat at Shedd Aquarium

Tiger Ray

Tambaqui are a very large fish with a strong jaw capable of breaking nuts that fall from the trees lining the rivers they live in.

Tambaqui

An Amazon milk frog poses on a leaf.

Amazon Milk Frog

A Brazilian Teal Duck stands in grasses.

Brazilian teal

A caiman lizard lounges in its habitat in Amazon Rising, its red head and green body, covered in sharp bumps, distinctive.

Caiman Lizard

A mata mata turtle at Shedd Aquarium.

Mata Mata Turtle

Arapaima can grow to prodigious size; some of the arapaima at Shedd are up to five feet long.

Arapaima

The red bellied piranha has sharp teeth and a strong jaw for preying on other fish.

Red-bellied Piranha