We are currently only offering Virtual Encounters at this time to support social distancing. View our Virtual Encounters.
Meet the belugas where they live! Standing side by side with a trainer on an underwater ledge, you’ll come face to face with a whale.
First, you'll enjoy an overview of the natural history of these white whales. Then you'll pull on chest waders to join a beluga in the cool water of the private Grainger Beluga Encounter Habitat.
The whale will offer you a "kiss" on the cheek or a gentle head bump, then the trainer and you will ask the whale for a few husbandry behaviors, including opening its mouth for an exam. Are you ready to tickle a beluga's tongue? You'll provide the whale with positive reinforcement as you drop whole fish into its mouth. You'll also touch the beluga's skin and feel the blubber below. And we promise you unforgettable surprises!
VIRTUAL ENCOUNTERS ARE AVAILABLE
- 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!
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.
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.
- 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.
Please meet at the Northern Trust Suite, in the main foyer a minimum of 15 minutes before your scheduled tour time. Admission tickets will be available at the Northern Trust Suite for participants. All other guests not participating in the experience should purchase tickets at the ticket counter or in advance online. The Northern Trust Suite is the first door on the right in the main foyer. Please note, late comers may not be able to join the encounter and will forfeit the program. Please be on time for your experience.
Those in your party who are not participating in the experience are not permitted to follow along and are not allowed in the behind-the-scenes areas. Please arrange a time and place to meet with your party after your experience.
All participants must be at least 60 inches tall (5 feet), and children 17 and under must be accompanied by a paying participating guardian.
You will be wearing neoprene waders during the encounter, so wear comfortable clothing. All participants must wear socks, a short-sleeve shirt and either shorts, jeans or slacks. You do NOT need a bathing suit or wetsuit as you will not be swimming in any of the habitats. Please bring a change of clothing and a towel as you may get wet during your encounter. Participants cannot wear jewelry (including wedding rings) or artificial fingernails. There will be lockers available for all personal belongings.
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 prior to your experience at [email protected] or 312-692-3355.
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.
If you have any accessibility needs, please contact us.
Photography and video recording are not allowed during this experience.
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.