Open 9 am - 9 pm (Late Close)
Night Dives: Illinois Resident Free Evenings are SOLD OUT today, Tuesday, July 16.
A couple stands in the cold water of Shedd's oceanarium, as a beluga whale sticks its head out of the water to peer curiously up at them from less than a foot away.
A woman stands in hip-deep water wearing waders in Shedd's oceanarium. She leans forward as a beluga whale lifts its header and upper body from the water to gently touch its forehead to her cheek.


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 all participants. A parent or guardian must sign for any participant 17 years or younger.

We recommend that guests with shellfish and seafood allergies do not participate in this encounter as well as those who are at risk for lymphedema.

Guests will need to understand information and instructions given in English or arrange for a paying translator to participate.


We strive to remove barriers 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. We review each request individually against the participation requirements and will follow up with you as swiftly as we can.

Program includes

  • Standing in cold water for 20 minutes (without assistance)
  • Use of stairs
  • Lifting arms
  • Ability to walk/wear chest waders

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.


$205 a person ($165 for members)


Participating guests should meet at the Extraordinary Experiences kiosk 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 while participating in the Beluga Encounter. However, a photographer will be in the area taking photos of the experience. You will receive one free image with the option to purchase more. 

Refund Policy

No refunds. Participants who need to reschedule may do so up to 10 days before their scheduled experience. Otherwise, date and time exchanges cannot be accommodated. For additional details, see our refund and cancellation policy.