FAQs

How much does it cost to visit Shedd Aquarium? Are there any discounts?

The cost of your visit depends on what exhibits you wish to see. Take a look at our ticket prices and available discounts

What will I receive free access to on Illinois Resident Free Days?

On Illinois Resident Free Days, Illinois residents get access to the full aquarium, including all exhibits, chats, presentations and Stingray Touch! You can add the 4-D Experience to your visit for $4.95 per person ($2.95 per member).

What type of ID can I use to prove my Illinois residency on IL Resident Free Days?

All adults in your party (age 18+) are required to show a photo ID with an Illinois address to receive free admission on IL Resident Free Days or a Chicago address to receive the daily Chicago resident price; children will not require any proof of residency, if they are accompanied by a resident adult with the appropriate ID. Current college and university IDs are valid proof of residency for students living in Illinois or Chicago while attending school.

If a resident’s photo ID does not list their current address in Illinois or Chicago, secondary documentation confirming residency will be required; such documentation could include a utility bill, a bank statement, a lease agreement, a recent paystub, or any other official documentation that lists the resident’s full name and address in Illinois or Chicago.

Can I reserve Free Day tickets for family or guests who are visiting, but do not live in Illinois?

Unfortunately, our Illinois Resident Free Days are only available to residents of the state of Illinois and does not apply to any guests from other states, even when they are visiting with an Illinois resident. Proof of residency, such as a state ID/driver’s license, will be required at the time of arrival for all adults in your party (age 18+).

Do Illinois resident children need to show an ID to visit on a Free Day?

No, children who live in Illinois do not need to show any ID to visit on a Free Day, as long as they are accompanied by an adult (age 18+) who is a resident of Illinois and has the appropriate proof of residency.

I am an Illinois resident, but I am still being charged full price for a Free Day online. How do I fix this?

If you are an Illinois resident planning to visit for a Free Day and are trying to book your trip online, you must select the “Illinois resident” check box when you enter the number of guests in your party if you wish to receive your free general admission. Once you check the box indicating you are a resident, a separate set of drop down menus will appear where you can enter the number of Illinois residents that will attend. If you enter your tickets in the Regular Tickets/Express Pass drop down menus, this Free Day offer will not be applied. Please note, a $3 transaction fee applies to Illinois Free Day tickets reserved online.

Why is there a $3 charge on my Illinois Resident Free Day Order Online?

This charge enables us to ensure access for as many neighbors as possible by validating orders. In the past we’ve had a high number of no-shows with our free online tickets, which limits the number of guests who can get in for a visit on these popular days.

What should I do if my credit card was double charged?

Pending Charges on your Debit/Credit Card: Authorization holds are placed on your debit or credit card each time you place an order online, to confirm the card being used is valid and the necessary funds are available. Once your purchase is completed successfully, your financial institution or card provider will change this pending transaction to a posted transaction on your account.

Pending or Duplicate Charges for Incomplete Orders: If you encounter an error when purchasing tickets online or if your reservation times-out after charging your debit/credit card online, you may see a pending transaction or authorization hold on your debit/credit card account despite your purchase being unsuccessful. Authorization holds placed for incomplete orders are normally released automatically by your financial institution or card provider within 3-5 business days; please note, pending charges and temporary authorizations will lower your available balance until the hold is released.

If you have any questions regarding the release of a authorization hold on your account, please contact your financial institution or card provider. If any incomplete or duplicate charges post to your account instead of being released, please contact Shedd Aquarium for assistance at 312-939-2438 (available daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST).

How do I find out what is happening at Shedd on the day of my visit?

See our full listing of Shedd experiences here! Click into each experience type to see the full daily schedule.

What's the best time to arrive at Shedd?

Arrive early (we open at 9 a.m.). Shedd is a popular place and can get crowded, especially on weekends, in the summer and on holidays. Sunday mornings, when the aquarium is least crowded, are a great time for relaxed family visits. 

Does my ticket include the Aquatic Presentation?

The Aquatic Presentation is included in your ticket on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations are recommended, and are available by going to one of two pick-up points. The first is at the entrance to the Amazon Rising exhibit and the second is by the entrance to Amphibians.

Once onsite, where can I get a pass to the Aquatic Presentation?

When available, passes to the presentation are available in the North Lobby outside of Amphibians and in the Amazon Rising exhibit. 

Are you part of Chicago CityPASS?

Yes, Shedd Aquarium is a CityPASS attraction. Save 53% off admission to the 5 top Chicago attractions including Shedd Aquarium Total Experience Pass – your best sightseeing value! Buy your CityPASS today at citypass.com or at our box office. Learn More.

Do you have a digital wayfinding map?

Yes! You can use the Google Maps app. Navigate to Shedd (1200 South Lakeshore Drive) and zoom in to see a detailed floor plan. You can also use the side navigation to switch between floors.

Do exhibits ever sell out?

Some exhibits or experiences may sell out early in the day during busy seasons (especially on weekends, in the summer and on holidays). Purchase tickets in advance to make sure you get in and avoid waiting in line.  

How long should I plan for my visit?

While it depends on the ticket package you purchase, the average visit takes 3 hours.

Do you have lockers?

The aquarium provides coin-operated lockers for guests to store coats and other items when visiting. We cannot be responsible for packages or luggage that will not fit in one of our lockers.

Can I take pictures?

Yes, but for the animals’ safety and comfort, please turn off your flash. No tripods are allowed.

Is there accessible parking?

The small parking lot between Shedd and the Field Museum offers reserved accessible parking, as does the Soldier Field north garage. Shedd's bus turnaround, on the south side of the aquarium, is a convenient drop-off point, close to the accessible entrance, for those traveling with a driver.

Can I rent a wheelchair?

Wheelchairs are available for free checkout on a first-come, first-served basis with photo identification. Ask at the information desk.

Can I rent a stroller or a wagon?

No stroller or wagon rental is available. We recommend a small, collapsible umbrella stroller to better navigate the aquarium and to skip possible lines at the elevators and opt for the stairs when possible. Wagons are permitted but not recommended on Free Days due to crowding.

Where can I eat while visiting Shedd?

You can choose from the casual Soundings Café, the quick Bubble Net food court, or the Deep Ocean Café in Polar Play Zone. Check out Dining at Shedd.

Can I bring a brown-bag lunch?

Yes. We have several restaurants, but guests and groups may also bring a brown-bag lunch. The vending area at the ground-level entrance has tables and chairs. You can purchase snacks and bottled beverages here. There is also a designated eating area on the North Terrace and you can eat on the lakeside lawn following your visit.

Am I allowed to leave Shedd and return to finish my visit?

Yes, reentry is allowed. Just be sure to keep your tickets handy!

Is there a nursing area?

Yes, we have a small designated nursing area. Ask a guest services representative to direct you to the location.

Can you answer a question about my aquatic pet?

We can’t take individual inquiries, but we can suggest resources to help you find an answer.

I’d like to work/volunteer/intern at Shedd — where do I start?

Visit our Jobs, Internships and Volunteering page for career and volunteer opportunities at Shedd.

Can I have my wedding reception (or other special event) at Shedd?

Yes. Visit our Plan a Private Event page.  

Where can I find information about the animals that live at Shedd Aquarium?

I'd like to purchase the photos that were taken of me at Shedd. Where can I access them?

We post all photos to our online storefront where you can view and purchase them up to a year after your visit.