Open 9 am - 6 pm
A young guest stretches out his arms to compare their length to that of a Leopard Shark in Shedd's Kelp Forest exhibit. The shark is a little longer than his arms fully stretched out.

Oceans

Prepare to meet some of the least-observed creatures at Shedd: dwellers of temperate and cold marine ecosystems. Some have hardly changed over hundreds of millions of years. Others, like the big-brained, eight-armed octopus and the brainless, five-sided sea stars—look like they could have come from outer space. But they’re all products of our Earth’s global ocean.

  • A close look at the closely-packed, round suckers on the tentacle of a giant Pacific octopus.

    SEARCH

    Our octopus often likes to hide during the day, with help from a flexible body and color-changing camouflage. Can you find her? 

  • Kelp in the kelp forest habitat at Shedd sways hypnotically in the current.

    RELAX

    Our immersive Kelp Forest is a soothing scene, with swaying fronds and hiding places for horn sharks and rockfish. 

  • A potbelly seahorse floats in its habitat at Shedd Aquarium.

    LISTEN

    Hear how octopuses pump blue blood and seahorses suck in their prey with Shedd’s special audio guides

A niche in every nook and cranny

From the shallow-water sharks of coastal kelp forests to the solitary octopus in a seafloor cave, ocean animals display astounding adaptability in making homes in the world’s temperate and cold oceans. Ghostly giant deep-sea isopods scuttle over rugged seafloor terrain. Lanky moray eels slide in and out of hiding places in rocky reefs. And spotted ratfish, ancient kin of sharks, withstand the depths’ low light and high pressure. Look below the ocean’s surface: You’ll find as much variety and opportunity—maybe more—as on land.

A giant Pacific octopus uses all eight arms to explore some special enrichment—and even tries to grab an extra snack!

A leopard shark's long, thin body weaves between kelp in Kelp Forest.

Leopard Shark

A swell shark on the habitat floor at Shedd Aquarium

Swell Shark

Horn sharks have chunky, almost blocky faces and large fins for steering.

Horn Shark

A lined seahorse grasps a piece of wood in the bottom of its habitat with its prehensile tail, anchoring its long body in place.

Lined Seahorse

Lobster stands on smooth white rock.

American lobster