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.

Penguin Encounter highlights

  • Start your aquatic adventure early and beat the crowds by starting your visit at 8:30 a.m. 
  • Meet a Magellanic or rockhopper penguin
  • Gently touch a penguin
  • Watch this curious bird explore their surroundings
  • Chat with an animal care specialist and ask all your penguin questions
  • Learn about the penguin’s history and what makes them so amazing
  • Take a selfie with your penguin pal and share with friends #IMetASheddPenguin
  • Receive a penguin ID card so you can identify your new avian friend on your next visit
  • Admission to the aquarium is included! Continue to look nature in the eye after your encounter

Requirements

  • The minimum age to attend is 6 years old. Attendees ages 6-17 must be accompanied by an adult also participating in the Penguin Encounter, age 18 or older.
  • Please bring a pair of socks; we will provide you with rubber boots for the encounter.
  • Masks are required for all guests over the age of 2 to visit Shedd Aquarium, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are required to be worn throughout your experience as well. 
  • 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. Please note, encounters are conducted behind the scenes and not in the penguin exhibit.

Accessibility

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 30 minutes.

Penguin Encounter FAQs

Questions?

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

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.

A Shedd trainer sits on a bench next to a participant in Shedd's Penguin Encounter space. A Magellanic penguin lays in her lap as the young participant reaches over to gently touch the penguin's wing.

A family wearing face masks sit in Shedd's oceanarium, looking at a penguin in a trainer's lap.

A young guest reaches out to gently touch the slick feathers on a penguin's back during a penguin encounter.

A Magellanic penguin peers around itself at visitors in Shedd's penguin encounter space.

Pricing

Adults (12+): $94.95
Children:
$84.95
Members:
$50

Admission to the aquarium is included with the purchase of a Penguin Encounter.

Entry

Meet at the Shedd Aquarium Loading Dock on the south side of the Aquarium no later than 8:30 a.m. on the day of your Encounter. Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled encounter time.

Questions?

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

Photography will be allowed at the direction of the penguin’s caretaker and the Shedd team member facilitating. Video recording is not allowed during this experience.

Refund Policy

No refunds will be issued unless Shedd Aquarium cancels the program. Participants who need to reschedule may do so up to 10 days before their scheduled experience. Otherwise, date and time exchanges cannot be accommodated, see our refund and cancellation policy.