Open 9 am - 5 pm
A penguin flaps its narrow wings and looks around interestedly as it stands in the middle of a seated group of penguin encounter participants.
Two adult Shedd guests participate in a Penguin Encounter, gently touching the waterproof feathers that make penguins so at home in the water.


  • Meet a Magellanic or Rockhopper penguin
  • Gently touch a penguin
  • Ask a trainer all your penguin questions
  • Receive a “decoder” card so you can identify your new avian friend on your next visit to Polar Play Zone

Includes admission

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


Penguin Encounters are offered most days throughout the year.


Minimum age is 6 years old. Guests ages 6-17 must be accompanied by a paying adult, age 18 or older.

Please bring a pair of socks; we will provide you with rubber boots for the encounter.

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

Observers may not be in the penguin encounter space. Encounters are conducted behind the scenes and not in the penguin habitat.


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

  • Sitting for 45 minutes
  • Use of stairs; elevators are available

Penguin Encounter FAQs

A magellanic penguin stirs up bubbles as it paddles along the water's surface.

Gift certificates

Penguin 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.


Adults (12+): $94.95
Children: $79.95
Members: $49.95


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

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.