Open 9 am - 5 pm
Nunavik, a beluga whale, spits water at a trainer in Shedd's Oceanarium. This behavior is used in the wild to uncover clams hiding in sand on the ocean floor.
A guest wearing waders stands in hip-deep water in Shedd's Oceanarium, leaning to the side so that a beluga whale can lift its head from the water and gently "kiss" her cheek.


  • Put on waders and enter the water of the Grainger Beluga Encounter Habitat
  • Touch a beluga’s skin
  • Try a few training techniques
  • Enjoy a few surprises!

Includes admission

A general admission ticket is included with the purchase of a Beluga Encounter. Participants have access to express entry to the aquarium, admission to all exhibits and a ticket to the next available aquatic presentation.

A beluga whale lifts its head from the water, holding a buoy with the message 'Happy Birthday!' written on it in a playful sans-serif font.

Celebrate a birthday

Celebrating a birthday during your Beluga Encounter? Add a “Happy Birthday!” buoy, to be presented during the encounter, for $50*. Call 312-692-3355 to arrange this special surprise.

*Beluga Encounter purchased separately.


Participants must be at least 60 inches (5ft or 1.5 meters) tall. Children up to 17 years-old must be accompanied by a participating paid adult age 18 or older.

A waiver must be signed by a parent or guardian for any participant 17 years or younger.

We recommend that guests with shellfish and seafood allergies do not participate in this encounter.


We believe there should be no boundaries to your Shedd Aquarium experience. If you have an accommodation request related to a disability, please contact us at [email protected] or 312-692-3355.

Program includes

  • Standing in cold water for 30 minutes (without assistance)
  • Use of stairs
  • Lifting arms
  • Ability to walk/wear chest waders

Add a photographer

Add a professional photographer to capture a surprise interaction at the end of your experience, and receive digital photos for $30 a person. Contact us at 312-692-3355 for more information.

Beluga Encounter FAQs

A beluga's flukes are large, flat and fan-shaped, with a tip in the long edge where the powerful tail muscles are attached to the fluke.

Gift certificates

Beluga Encounters are an extraordinary gift idea! Purchase a gift certificate online, redeemable for Extraordinary Experiences, general admission, or membership. Or call us at 312-692-3355. Certain restrictions apply.


$199.95 a person ($139.95 for members)


Participating guests should meet at the Northern Trust Suite on the day of their visit.


Email us or call 312-692-3355 with questions. We are unable to take reservations by email.

Accessibility Needs

If you have any accessibility needs, please contact us.


Photography and video recording are not allowed during this experience.

Refund Policy

Rescheduling must occur as of close of business 10 days prior to the date of the experience. Refunds will not be issued for any changes made less than 10 days prior. For additional details, see our refund and cancellation policy.