Animal Encounters

Meet some of our animals up close with an animal encounter! From smooth stingrays to leathery sturgeon, you'll be surprised at all the unique textures of the animals at Shedd!

Stingray Touch

Stingray Touch is open from late-May to Mid-Sept.

How do you think a stingray feels? Soft, like a pillow? Squishy, like a marshmallow? How about scratchy, like sandpaper? There's only one way to find out — at Shedd's Stingray Touch experience. 

Dip your hand into a shallow tropical pool and discover the unique texture and movement of a school of stingrays as these fascinating fish glide through the water in Shedd's first outdoor environment. You'll also learn how we care for all of the stingrays living at Shedd and how your actions can protect them in the wild.

Read more about stingrays on our blog:
Know Your Rays: Cownose

Know Your Rays: Mellow Yellow

Sea Star Touch

You’ve heard of starfish, but don’t let the name confuse you; sea stars are not fish!  Discover for yourself the variety and textures of sea stars at the sea star touch pool in Shedd’s Polar Play Zone.

Dip your hand into the cool water of our sea star touch pool and be transported to the Pacific Northwest, where these five species of sea stars all make their home. Touch their strong skin and examine the hundreds of tiny tube feet that help these extraordinary animals feel, feed and move around their environment. 

See what else is available in our Polar Play Zone!

Sturgeon Touch

Interact with a living fossil at the new sturgeon touch pool, now open in Shedd’s At Home on the Great Lakes exhibit.  These bottom-dwelling lake fish have survived for more than 200 million years, outliving the dinosaurs!

Get up close with these primitive giants, feeling the leathery texture of the sturgeon’s skin and the hard bony plates that encase their bodies.  This hands-on encounter allows you to learn about how we interact with this cartilaginous fish, and how we can protect the sturgeon’s home—The Great Lakes.

Read more about our Great Lakes exhibits on our blog.


Regular hours
Weekdays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weekends: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Extended summer hours (June 15-Aug. 18, 2019)
All days: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the exception of July 27

Special hours:.
July 27 - Early close: 3 p.m.

*Last ticket sales are 45 minutes before close.

How you can help

There are lots of ways to help. Get involved in the care of these animals by becoming a Shedd member, donating to the annual fund or volunteering at Shedd.

Plan your next trip to Shedd!

Experience unbelievable animals from around the world! Admission includes all permanent exhibits, Amphibians special exhibit, aquatic presentation (subject to availability) and seasonal Stingray Touch (open late May to October). Buy tickets online today!

Tips for a great visit

Make the most of your trip with our tips for a great visit!

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