Plan a Visit
It’s time to spread your wings! Shedd Aquarium is open and we look forward to welcoming our members and guests back. We have stringent measures in place to create a safe and enriching experience with the aquatic animal world.
This page is updated regularly based on the latest recommended State and City guidelines (last update: May 15, 2021).
Help protect our community!
Do you have a fever, cough or feel short of breath? Have you been exposed to someone with these symptoms? Are you visiting from a state or have you recently visited a state that is a part of the City of Chicago's Emergency Travel Order?
Join us at a later date! Already have tickets? Call 312-939-2438 or email [email protected] and we’ll gladly reschedule your visit.
|General Admission||Chicago Residents||Shedd Members|
Shedd Aquarium spans 276,000 square feet of public space, with significant room for social distancing.
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reserve timed tickets
Purchase of timed tickets before your visit is required.
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- Unavailable areas: The Aquatic Presentation and several high-touch play areas will not be available. Visit our frequently asked questions for more details.
- Touch experiences: Stingray Touch has closed for the season. Sea Star Touch and Sturgeon Touch are view-only to allow for social distancing.
- Exhibit experiences: We've adjusted our fish IDs to automatically scroll so they don't need to be touched in order to convey information.
- Water fountains: For your safety, water fountains will not be available. Guests may purchase water or use a bottle refilling station.
- Cash or credit? If you are looking to make a purchase, bring a credit card if possible. Cash sales will be limited to reduce close contact between staff and guests.
- Accessibility changes: Wheelchairs, assistive listening devices, and noise-cancelling headphones will be available on a first come, first-served basis and will be sanitized between each use. Details on Shedd’s accessibility offerings.
- Restaurants: Bubble Net food court will be open with limited capacity Fridays - Sundays, from 10:30 a.m. until 2 hours before the building closes. Any food or drink you bring with you or purchase from machines must be consumed in designated areas. Capacity is limited and tables are spaced in accordance with Chicago regulations. Please do not move tables or chairs.
Re-entry: Unfortunately, due to the new flow of the aquarium, we won't be able
to let people back into Shedd once they exit the building.
Keeping you safe
Before your visit
We established employee wellness checks before shifts and guest guidance for entering.
- We limited the hourly capacity in the building to provide plenty of space for guests to comfortably explore.
- We implemented timed entry to keep an even flow of guests throughout the day.
- Guests will now choose an available entry time when purchasing tickets online. Please purchase tickets in advance as walk-up ticket sales on-site are not available.
- We have installed physical barriers for interactions like ticket purchasing, where social distancing might not be possible.
During your visit
- We increased our rigorous cleaning efforts with guests and animals in mind. We are regularly cleaning surfaces you might need to touch, such as handrails and elevator buttons.
We’ve installed additional hand washing and sanitization stations throughout the aquarium. The entire building will also get a deep cleaning every night after closing.
- We created separate entrance and exit points that will encourage a one-directional flow throughout the building.
- In addition to requiring guests over the age of 2 to wear a face covering or mask, we added new social distancing reminders including markers along the floor and walls that will help guests make the most of their visit, while also maintaining a healthy distance from staff and other guests.
Enhanced cleaning measures
Enhanced daytime cleanings and nightly deep cleanings
- All touch points and hard surfaces throughout the aquarium are disinfected, not just the frequently touched surfaces.
- When you walk around the aquarium, you will see our “Sanitation Squad” at work. This is a newly implemented group that wipes down areas where they are stationed and joins forces to focus on railings, reading rails, elevator interiors, seating areas, exhibits, counter tops, interactive screens, etc.
- A specialized custodial team wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) cleans the aquarium overnight. The team uses electrostatic sprayers, misters and vacuum equipment with high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filters to make sure hard to reach surfaces are not missed. Not all of this equipment will visible to guests as it’s used after-hours.
- The disinfectants we use are on the EPA N list of approved disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and are in widespread use by the healthcare industry.
Building ventilation and air flow
- Shedd Aquarium is operating under ASHRAE COVID-19 Building Readiness/Reopening Guidance dated May 7, 2020.
- All of our air handlers are running 24-hours, 7-days a week.
- Each day 2 hours before we open and 2 hours after we close, we perform a flushing of the building. This includes operating the exhaust fans as well as opening the outside air dampers to 100%.
- We have increased our pre-filter change out schedule and changed our final filters to MERV 14.
- The interiors of our air handlers and air conditioning coils have been disinfected prior to our reopening and will be a part of scheduled preventive maintenance of the aquarium.
Augmented custodial staff
We’ve reviewed our sanitation rounds and added additional touch points to ensure cleanliness of the aquarium. Our staff has also been augmented with sanitation and atomizing experts using specialty equipment.
EPA cleaning guidelines
We are implementing disinfectant spraying for our bathrooms multiple times daily, a practice commonly used by hospitals and airlines, to supplement the enhanced cleaning measures already in place. We ask for your patience as bathrooms will be closed sporadically to accomplish this task. All disinfecting and sanitation products have been certified safe for humans and our animals per the EPA and our own onsite chemist.
"Be Safe. Chicago" certified
Shedd Aquarium has received phase 4 business certification approval from "Be Safe. Chicago." This self-certification means we've reviewed and understand the city's business operational standards for each phase of reopening, submitted our business plan to ensure we are operationally compliant with the city's standards and confirmed our willingness and ability to comply and commit to the "Be Safe. Chicago" guidelines during reopening.
This section is updated regularly based on the latest recommended State and City guidelines (last update: May 15, 2021)
In an effort to keep all staff and visitors safe, we have implemented the following guidelines regarding face masks:
Who needs to wear a mask?
Masks are required for all visitors over the age of 2.
- Non-medical disposable masks
- Masks that fit properly (snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face)
- Masks made with breathable fabric (such as cotton)
- Masks made with tightly woven fabric (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source)
- Masks with two or three layers and with inner filter pockets
Masks not recommended
Masks that do not
fit properly (large gaps, too loose or too tight)
- Masks made from materials that are hard to breathe through (such as plastic or leather)
- Masks made from loosely woven fabric or that are knitted, i.e., fabrics that let light pass through
- Masks with one layer
- Masks with exhalation valves or vents
- Wearing a scarf/ski mask as a mask
Once I have the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask and social distance?
Yes. Even after someone has been vaccinated the individual should continue to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. While we know the vaccines protect the individual from contracting COVID, but we do not know if it prevents spreading COVID. As more people receive the vaccine, we may be able to dial back these measures. These guidelines align with Chicago's COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs, learn more.
What if I am unable to wear a mask due to a disability or medical condition?
You may substitute a face shield as an alternative. Please bring your face shield and wear it as you arrive for your timed entry. We ask that all guests who are feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, please contact us to reschedule your visit. If you any questions, please contact us directly at 312-939-2438. Learn more about our accessibility offerings.
Can't make it to Shedd Aquarium during the weekday? Introducing late hours!
Visit us on Wednesday evenings this June and July (starting June 16) for a chance to explore the aquarium after work or school. Stroll through Shedd’s historic galleries, Wild Reef, Abbott Oceanarium and Special Exhibit Underwater Beauty and see what animals get more active in moonlight mode!
Evening tickets are available Wednesday evenings. Advance purchase required. Last entry is 7 p.m. and the aquarium will close at 9 p.m.
July tickets coming soon!
Habitats: For animal care, Amazon Rising lights dim at 7 p.m. and Abbott Oceanarium will close at 8 p.m., Shedd’s historic galleries, Special Exhibit Underwater Beauty and Wild Reef will close at 9 p.m.
Food and beverage: Soundings Café and Bubblenet Food Court will be open for food and beverage options. The north and lakeside terraces will be open for seating for guests with food and beverage purchases.
Gift shop: Yes, the gift shop will be open! Bring home a souvenir from the Shedd store.
Jazzin' at the Shedd: Jazzin' is currently paused. Visit the Jazzin' page for the latest updates.
All guests will enter through the Accessible Entrance at the entry time on your tickets. Look for the Man with Fish sculpture.
In accordance with safety protocols outlined by the Center for Disease Control, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois, all staff and guests are required to wear a face covering or masks on-site at Shedd Aquarium and keep a 6-foot distance throughout your visit. Masks covering your mouth and nose are required for those over 2 years old. Masks will be available for purchase in the Shedd Store.
Do you have a fever, cough or feel short of breath? Have you been exposed to someone with these symptoms? Join us at a later date!
Already have tickets? Call 312-939-2438 or email [email protected] and we’ll gladly reschedule your visit.
Our hours can change based on the day of week. For the most up-to-date schedule please visit our calendar page.
Members: Free admission. Please book tickets in advance, online reservations are required.
- General Admission: $39.95 adults / $29.95 children
- Chicago Residents: $19.95 adults / $14.95 children
- Discounts: Please visit our Discounts and Free Days page to see if you qualify.
- Members: Free admission. Please book tickets in advance, online reservations are required.
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
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.
Chicago’s Museum Campus can host a variety of special events that affect traffic and parking. Check our traffic alerts to plan your best day at Shedd!
COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. By visiting Shedd Aquarium, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. Please follow protection measures as outlined by the CDC before and during your visit.