Up a Mighty River: The Ultimate Amazon Cruise with Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo

April 3 – 12, 2020



  • View wildlife on hikes, excursion boat rides and kayak expeditions in the Amazon.
  • See gray and pink river dolphins, see and hear monkeys, bring your life list for the more than 1,300 bird species and immerse yourself in the lushness of 40,000 plant species.
  • Go deeper into the forest on excursion boats that can explore smaller tributaries during high-water season.
  • Delight in luxurious amenities aboard Zafiro, including an indulgent spa and fresh Amazon fusion cuisine.
  • Experience a blessing ceremony and a Q/A session on medicinal plants with a village shaman, plus meet local people during village and school visits.

Your expert guide
Allen LaPointeThe Amazon’s ecosystems are all about water, and no one at Shedd knows more about that life-giving liquid than Allen LaPointe, vice president, environmental quality. He plays a key role in replicating the environmental parameters for the animals in each of Shedd’s exhibit areas, including Amazon Rising. Allen was also involved in water-quality studies in Guyana, South America, in conjunction with Shedd’s conservation research projects there, and he has tales to tell about his adventures. This will be Allen’s second  time hosting a Shedd Adventure in the Amazon. He is a member of the Lt. Governor’s Illinois River Coordinating Council and a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago blue-ribbon panel.

Why you want to go
Only scientists are granted greater access into the deep recesses of Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, where we will explore on land and water, during daylight and after dark, to experience the rainforest primeval. We will be there during high-water season, when the forests in the vast Amazon Basin are flooded, so you can go deeper into the forest on excursion boats and get into smaller tributaries. This allows you to see some of the wildlife that may not frequent the main course of the river.

The five-star luxury riverboat Zafiro offers unrivaled comfort while allowing you to responsibly travel far into the remote corners of the Upper Amazon basin. A ship staff and crew of 25, including a cruise director and local naturalist guides, ensure unprecedented levels of service. 

Pricing ranges by cabin. Email Shannon Fuller at sfuller@sheddaquarium.org for more information about pricing and inclusions/exclusions.

Shannon Fuller
Assistant Director, Conservation Travel
Shedd Aquarium