Open 9 am - 5 pm
The waterfall garden in the bus turnaround at Shedd roars all through the summer months.

Gardens

The first habitats to welcome you to Shedd are the gardens! Four acres of land surround the aquarium, and more than half of them are planted with native grasses, wildflowers and vegetables. Explore our food garden to see tomatoes and greens being raised as tasty treats for Shedd’s animals, or take a stroll through the migratory bird garden to see natural spaces designed with plants that help birds rest and refuel.

  • Autumn leaves start to change hue in Shedd's gardens as winter draws near.

    LOOK

    See spring blossoms give way to summer blooms, fall foliage and winter seed heads.  

  • The pink allium flower forms tall, thin stalks topped with round, fragrant clusters of pink flowers-- popular with Shedd's bees!

    SNIFF

    Do stop and smell the flowers, from pink allium to purple coneflower!  

  • Milkweed is a native plant, and attracts monarch butterflies, whose caterpillars need the plant for food.

    PLANT

    Be inspired to add hardy Illinois native plants to your garden.  

Gardening for the birds and bees—and tortoises!

The plants at Shedd are right at home in gardens that represent our region’s dunes, prairies and seasonal wetlands. By using native plants accustomed to our local landscape and climate, we can limit watering. A well-placed rain garden thrives as it keeps runoff from summer thunderstorms out of the lake. The pesticide-free flowers, shrubs and trees provide safe, natural habitat for local and migratory birds, butterflies and bees. And our organic vegetable gardens produce healthy vegetables for our tortoises and other animals.

The migratory bird garden on Shedd's east side, facing the lake, hosts a plethora of native plants that attracts birds, bees and butterflies.
A horticulture volunteer works in Shedd's abundant gardens, spreading chocolate-smelling cocoa shells for mulch.
A butterfly rests on a round cluster of pink allium, sipping nectar from the fragrant flowers.
Water features like the one in Shedd's waterfall garden are a guaranteed way to invite thirsty migratory birds.
The small waterfall next to Shedd's North Terrace is surrounded by flowers and native plants in the warm months.
Small courtyards to the north and south of Shedd's facade offer a natural respite from the city.
The migratory bird garden on east side of the Shedd is a great place to go birdwatching.
the entrance to Shedd
The waterfall garden in the bus turnaround at Shedd roars all through the summer months.
An intern lends a hand in Shedd's vegetable garden.
Ladybugs like the one shown on this blue sea holly eat aphids and other garden pests, and are a sign of a healthy garden.
Hardy fall cabbages are surrounded by a blanket of colorful autumn leaves in Shedd's gardens.
A flowering tree accentuates the bold columns and stonework of the facade of the Shedd Aquarium.
Vegetables grown in Shedd's gardens-- such as radishes, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and carrots-- are harvested as part of our animals' organic vegetable diets.