We are currently only offering Virtual Encounters at this time to support social distancing. View our Virtual Encounters.
Meet one of Shedd’s penguins! While you sit on a low stool close to the activity, the penguin will move around the room, perching on the trainer's lap, exploring, preening, playing with toys and gulping fish. You'll learn about the bird's personal history as well as penguin anatomy. With the trainer's guidance, you'll have a chance to touch the bird's dense, waterproof feathers. And you'll learn about our penguin conservation work in South Africa with the African penguins.
You'll receive a digital photo to commemorate your Extraordinary Experience as well as a "decoder" card, showing each bird's ID band colors, to help you recognize your new friend among the other birds on future visits.
VIRTUAL ENCOUNTERS ARE AVAILABLE
- 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
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.
- Sitting for 45 minutes
- Use of stairs; elevators are available
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 6 years old, and children 6-17 must be accompanied by a paying participating guardian.
You will be wearing your own clothing during the program, so wear something comfortable, and something you don't mind getting a little dirty. We will provide rubber boots for your encounter, so please wear socks on the day of your encounter.
For the safety of our animals, you will not be allowed to take photographs when participating in the extraordinary experience.
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
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.
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.