Tips for a Great Visit

Before You Arrive

  • Shedd is a popular place to visit, and on busy days, you might have to wait in line. If you haven’t already, we recommend you buy your tickets in advance online. When you arrive, show your tickets on your mobile device or a printout for priority entry.
  • Take a look at some of Shedd's top videos and blogs before you arrive!
  • Arrive early. You will have the best views of your favorite animals!
  • Dress for the weather. Our line often extends outdoors on winter weekends and busy weekdays, Weather in Chicago is unpredictable, so be sure to check weather updates before your arrival. Remember, you can get priority entry if you purchase tickets in advance.
  • Plan your visit before you arrive with one of our self-guided Ten Fun Finds tours.
  • Concentrate on several select exhibits and experiences rather than rushing to “do” the whole aquarium.

Getting Here

  • Between public transportation and parking nearby, you’ll be on your way to Shedd in no time. Let us help you choose the best way to get here.
  • Make sure to check our Traffic Alerts for up-to-date information about local events that may impact traffic and parking near Shedd Aquarium.
  • You must separately reserve your free aquatic presentation tickets at one of the North Lobby kiosks in front of Soundings Cafe on the day of your visit.


  • Last tickets sales are 45 minutes before close. Click here to see our hours.
  • Pack light. If you do want to store items during your visit, we have lockers available (pay by credit card or exact cash). If you’re traveling with a toddler, we recommend using an umbrella stroller that will be easier than larger models for navigating exhibits and elevators. See our complete admission policies here.
  • Take public transportation to the aquarium. It's cheaper than driving and parking, and the CTA #146 Museum Campus bus delivers you almost to our door.
  • Outside food is allowed in the aquarium, but can only be eaten in designated areas.
  • To support Shedd’s sustainability efforts and  protect our waters and the animals that call them home, we offer reusable bags for purchase in our gift shop. Learn more about other ways you can help reduce your single-use plastic use.
  • Check our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information regarding your upcoming visit to Shedd Aquarium!

Please note, areas of the aquarium may be closed for a portion or all of any given day without prior notice. Please contact us if you have questions about exhibit availability.

Do More!

Shedd Calendar

Planning a visit to Shedd? Check out the Shedd calendar for the latest info or campus events on the day of your visit!

Daily activities

Carribean Reef Dive: 10:30 a.m. | 12 p.m.| 2 p.m. | 3 p.m. | Carribean Reef

Shark Chat: 9:45 a.m. | 3:00 p.m. | Wild Reef

Belugas and Sea Lions Chat: 11 a.m. | 1:30 p.m. Abbott Oceanarium

Penguins Chat:  12:45 p.m. | 3:45 p.m. | Polar Play Zone

Aquatic Presentation and 4-D Experiences: Occuring throughout the day

See the full listing of today's animal experiences!

Fun Finds Maps

From must-see kid sights to hidden animals, explore Shedd with our unique fun finds maps!

Meet a beluga!

Meet the belugas where they live! You'll touch the beluga's skin, try a few training techniques and enjoy some surprises. Learn more!

Become a Shedd member

Membership is  a great option if you’d like to support Shedd and get special perks for return visits! Learn more here

Visitors Guide

Looking for tips for your next visit to Shedd? Check out our awesome guide here