Open 9 am - 6 pm
Museum Campus parking availability and cost will be impacted by a concert taking place at Soldier Field. Taking public transportation is highly recommended.
In front of Shedd's large, circular Caribbean Reef habitat, a woman and her service dog peer through the glass together at the fishes swimming beyond.
The Accessible Entrance at Shedd is on the south side of the building and features a very large fountain statue of a man holding a fish.

Before You Visit


Construction at Shedd has begun as part of our Centennial Commitment! Please be aware that unexpected and sudden noise from cutting, drilling and other work may be audible throughout the building.

Sensory-friendly app

Prepare for your visit with Shedd Aquarium’s sensory-friendly app. Designed for guests with autism and sensory processing disorders in mind, the app helps make Shedd more accessible to all guests. You can download it from iTunes or Google Play.

Where to park

The small parking lot between Shedd and the Field Museum, as well as the Soldier Field parking garage, offer accessible parking. If you’re driving and would like to drop off a passenger, our bus turnaround will get you closest to the sidewalk-level accessible entrance. Please check our traffic alerts page for up-to-date information about parking at Shedd.

Where to enter

Our building is evolving! We are constructing a refreshed accessible entrance to more quickly and seamlessly connect guests with the aquatic animal world. During this transformation, guests will enter the aquarium along the half-circle driveway and proceed up the ramp behind the temporary ticketing booth. Learn more about this transformation as part Shedd’s Experience Evolution.

Our touchless security screening system at the entrance is fully accessible. People with implanted electronic medical devices can walk through, but please note that low frequency radio wave systems are in use.

Animal Spotlights

All of our Animal Spotlights are low-sensory experiences. It is a welcoming, inclusive space, where guests can feel comfortable responding to the presentation in their own way and stepping out if needed. You are free to attend as many Animal Spotlights as you would like during your visit. From penguins to beluga whales, the focus animal of each presentation is different. Leave with a greater understanding of the animal and how you can protect our blue planet.

Times vary throughout the day. This experience is included with general admission.

Straw policy

Compostable non-bending straws are available upon request.

Calm Waters

Calm Waters is an exclusive event for guests with disabilities and Veterans to explore Shedd Aquarium’s exhibits and experiences in a comfortable and accepting environment. 

Modifications for Calm Waters Include:

  • Limited capacity and streamlined entry with advance registration
  • A sensory friendly app
  • A low-sensory animal spotlight
  • An animal encounter opportunity
  • Complimentary 4D experiences during the event
Guests in front of Shedd's Wild Reef shark habitat stand before the curved floor-to-ceiling glass as sharks cruise by.
A guest wears a subtle earbud so she can listen to the audio description of the Aquatic Presentation.

General Resources

Wheelchairs and rollator walkers

Wheelchairs and rollator walkers are available for free checkout at the information desk on a first-come, first-served basis with photo identification. Wheelchairs will be sanitized between each use.  Our Must See Tours, penguin encounters and shark feeding tours are all accessible for guests who use wheelchairs.

Accessible restrooms

Accessible restrooms can be found throughout the aquarium. Family/companion restrooms can be found throughout the aquarium as well, including guest amenities off the main foyer, Wild Reef, Polar Play Zone.

Adult changing tables are located in the last family restroom in the amenities hall off the main foyer and in the family restroom in the Bubble Net food court hall.

To support our enhanced cleaning measures, all restrooms will be periodically closed for cleaning. Please see a team member to be directed to the nearest accessible restroom.

Accessible seating

Designated wheelchair accessible seating and companion chairs are available in the Abbott Oceanarium amphitheater for Animal Spotlights. Please see a Shedd staff member upon arrival at the presentation for assistance.

Sound-reducing headphones

Sound-reducing headphones are available at the information desk, the 4-D Theater and the Abbott Oceanarium for free checkout on a first-come, first-served basis with photo identification. Sound-reducing headphones will be sanitized between each use.


Please feel free to nurse anywhere you are comfortable. Additionally, there is a mother’s room in Abbot Oceanarium Lower Level 2, located near Sea Star Touch.

Automated external defibrillators

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are located throughout the aquarium.

Resources for Those Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

American Sign Language interpreters

Icon for American Sign Language

American Sign Language interpreters  can be arranged at no additional charge for guests who are deaf or hard of hearing. We require two weeks’ notice to make arrangements. To request this service, please contact us by emailing [email protected] or calling 312-939-2438 (voice call to Shedd) or 1-800-526-0857 (relay service).

Assistive-listening devices

Icon for Assistive Listening Devices

The assistive-listening system is currently down for maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience. Assistive-listening devices  can be picked up at the main information desk and 4-D Theater, they will be sanitized between each use. Listening locations include animal chats, 4-D Experience, Abbott Oceanarium and Must See Tours.

Closed captioning

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Closed captioning is available for the 4-D Experience in the Phelps Auditorium. Please request a captioning device before entering the theater.

Real-time captioning

Real-time captioned Animal Spotlights are available upon request with two weeks' advance notice. To request this service, please email us at [email protected] or call 312-939-2438.

Hearing loop

Icon for Hearing Loop

Hearing loops are installed at the membership desk and ticketing counter in the Accessible Entrance. A hearing loop is a sound system that provides a wireless signal picked up when any hearing device is set to ‘T’ Telecoil setting.

Resources for Those Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision

Recorded audio description

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Recorded audio description is available for the 4-D Experience (Phelps Auditorium, subject to availability). Please request a listening device before entering the theater.

Touchable models

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 Tactile models can be found throughout the aquarium. When touched, the model a penguin (Penguin Playscape in Polar Play Zone) plays back identifying information about that body part.


Icon for low vision

Access the free offering with your smartphone by downloading the app, available for both iOS and Android, creating an account and connecting with a highly trained sighted live agent through a video call that allows them to see what is in front of or near you. For 30-minute intervals, the agent can assist with guiding you through the purchasing process, wayfinding to the nearest dining area, shop or restroom, describing the exhibits with details about size, number of animals, signage and more. If you would like to continue beyond the allotted time, you can call again for a new agent.

A guest in a wheelchair can before the floor-to-ceiling glass front of the shark habitat in Wild Reef, enjoying the movement of the animals on the other side of the glass.
A Shedd staff member holds up a tactile model of a tortoise shell for an accessibility consultant with a visual disability to consider.

Care Attendants and Service Animals

Personal care attendants policy

Guests with severe disabilities may be accompanied by paid personal care attendants (PCA) at no additional cost during their visit to Shedd Aquarium. This applies to all ticketed events, admission, Extraordinary Experiences and special events that the guest is attending. This also applies to membership, complimentary admission and group sales.

Guests with severe disabilities who wish to purchase advance tickets for ticketed events, admission, Extraordinary Experiences, special events, membership and group sales should contact 312-939-2438 (option 9) to request complimentary companion tickets for a paid PCA. These tickets must be picked up in person by the guest and the paid PCA at the point of entry.

Service animal policy

Service animals are always welcome at Shedd Aquarium. They are defined as dogs or miniature horses that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Shedd Aquarium is home to many animals, some of which may have a strong negative reaction to the presence of unfamiliar animals. For the health and safety of all animals involved, service animals are restricted from the following areas:

  • Coastal Walkway is restricted at all times. The entire pathway along the Abbott Oceanarium habitats, from Secluded Bay through Misty Passage, along Whale Harbor and the North Pool. Guests can enjoy underwater views of belugas, dolphins and sea otters in Polar Play Zone, located in the lower level of the Oceanarium.
  • Certain areas behind the scenes visited for Extraordinary Experiences. If you are signing up for one of these programs, please contact 312-692-2723 so we can prepare for your visit.

Service animal relief areas are located outdoors on any of the grassy areas surrounding Shedd Aquarium.

Emotional support/comfort animal policy

For the health and safety of the animals at Shedd Aquarium, emotional support/comfort/therapy animals and pets are not permitted anywhere in the building.


If you have other questions or would like information about additional accommodations, please contact Shedd at [email protected] or 312-939-2438.

Shedd Aquarium FAQs