Preparing for your Group Visit
Thank you for booking a trip to Shedd Aquarium for your group! Your order supports the expert care we provide for the animals at Shedd and for wildlife around the world, as well as global field research and science education.
We are looking forward to facilitating your trip to Shedd Aquarium.
Please carefully review your reservation information, number of guests attending, program times, lunchroom information and/or learning program reservations. Below you will find information regarding your reservation, the arrival process and tips for a great group visit. If you have questions, contact [email protected]
Following state and city guidelines, beginning Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, Shedd Aquarium is lifting the mask and vaccination requirements for guests. Guests and staff may continue to wear masks in the aquarium for a variety of reasons, so please continue to be kind and considerate of others.
Please read the updated guidelines here for more details.
Contact [email protected].
Tips for a great visit:
- Before your visit, be sure to review the arrival and departures information below to ensure that your trip starts and ends on a good note!
- Download a Shedd Aquarium map here and print copies for all adults and chaperones in your group.
- Download the Shedd Go app! Anyone with the Shedd Go app on a smart device can scan habitat QR codes throughout the aquarium to learn more about the exhibits and the animals they are looking at.
- Visit our Plan a Visit page for the most up-to-date information about visiting Shedd Aquarium. We will continue to update this page as CDC, State and City guidelines are updated.
- Touch Experiences: Sea Star Touch and Sturgeon Touch are open daily. Stingray Touch and Stingray Feeding are available seasonally.
- Restaurants: Bubble Net food court will be open from 10:30 a.m. until 2 hours before the aquarium closes that day. Any food or drink you bring with you or purchase from vending machines must be consumed in designated areas.
- Free audio guides tell you all about the belugas, dolphins, sharks, penguins and more Shedd favorites.
- Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to share photos of your visit and learn more about what's happening at Shedd.
Please arrive at the Shedd Aquarium bus loop located on the south side of the building at your chosen arrival time (noted on your confirmation email). Due to timed ticketing and limited capacity, your group will not be permitted to enter before your selected entry time. All visitors of your group must be together at the time of entry and will enter no later than 30 minutes after the entry time of your reservation. If you are running late, please contact 312-692-3333.
If arriving by bus, please wait on your bus until greeted by a Shedd staff member. If no staff member is available at the bus loop, proceed to the accessible entrance to check in.
Before you arrive at Shedd Aquarium, please review arrival procedures, program times, lunch time and location and departure instructions/locations with your group. Space for addressing your group inside the aquarium is limited.
Lockers for coats and bags are available on a first-come, first-served basis in our main lobby for $5-$8 per use, based on the size of the locker. Shedd is not able to store any items that do not fit into these lockers.
If you have reserved a lunchroom, your lunches will be collected in a bin when you arrive and will be available in your appointed lunchroom at the time designated on your reservation.
For the safety of our guests, all bags will be searched at the entrance. We recommend that members of your group bring as few bags as possible and have them open for examination as they enter to avoid delays.
Your group name will be your "admission" for the day; no tickets or wristbands will be issued. We will have a list of all groups visiting us to confirm when your group goes to the exhibits and activities scheduled to attend.
Many groups plan to depart at the same time. Please make sure your entire group is together before you call the bus to meet you at the bus loop. This will help give all departing groups timely access to the bus loop.
Need to change your group size?
Please notify us of any upgrades or changes in the number of adults or children in your group at least 14 days before your visit by emailing [email protected] or calling 312-692-3333.
Payment or cancellation policies
Any cancellation, rescheduling, or refund requests must be made no later than 14 days before your visit date.
No refunds will be issued unless Shedd Aquarium cancels the program. Shedd Aquarium reserves the right to cancel the event for any reason. If your event is cancelled, you will be informed via phone as soon as possible. In the event of a cancellation, you will be fully refunded within 30 days. Your refund method will be based on your original method of payment. Please review our full payment policy online.
Deferred payment deadline
Any outstanding balance is required to be paid 14 days prior to your visit. If your group is paying by check, the check payment must arrive to our mailing address below to be processed by the 14th day before your visit.
Free visit confirmation
For free Illinois school group visits we will send you an email prior to the 14 day required notice window asking you to confirm that you are still planning to attend. Failure to confirm may result in the cancellation of your order, or any scheduled activities to be removed from your itinerary.
Bus Funding for Field Trips to Shedd
Shedd is committed to ensuring access to the aquatic animal world for Chicago Public Schools. One way we create access is through our Bus Fund Program.
Bus funds are available on a limited basis to eligible CPS schools that are visiting for a field trip. During the online registration of your field trip, if your trip and school are both eligible, you will be presented with the option to apply for reimbursable bus funds if they are available. If awarded funding, detailed instructions for reimbursement will be provided.
Accepted payment methods
To pay by credit card, call 312-692-3333. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
To pay by check, please email us the check number, order confirmation number, along with the date it has been processed/delivered to the postal service to confirm your order. All check payments must arrive to the location below for processing at least 14 days before the scheduled visiting date.
Please mail to:
Shedd Aquarium Society
29017 Network Place
Please include your confirmation number on the check.
There are a limited number of seats in the Shedd Aquarium lunchrooms and they are available only by advance reservation.
If you have reserved a lunchroom, the time and location will be noted in your reservation information. (Please be aware that lunchroom locations are subject to change upon group check-in.)
Lunchroom reservations are for a maximum of 30 minutes.
When you arrive your group's lunches will be collected in a bin and will be available in your appointed lunchroom at the time designated on your reservation.
Didn't book a lunchroom?
Shedd Aquarium does not have room to store lunches for those without lunchroom reservations. Please have your group members keep their lunches with them.
Groups are welcome to leave the building to eat outside on the plaza then reenter the aquarium to finish their visit.
When the Deep Oceans cafe is not open, there is limited seating on level L2 in the Abbott Oceanarium near the underwater viewing area. This is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please remember that many guests (both groups and individuals) visit Shedd Aquarium each day. To ensure the best possible experience for all guests, we expect group leaders and chaperones to monitor their group's behavior and ensure our policies are adhered to. Any group not adequately supervised may be asked to leave the aquarium.
If you have questions about your visit or need to change your reservation, please call us at 312-692-3333.
Field Trip Preparations: Begin planning and preparing for your field trip using our online resources.
Learning Labs and Science Tech Treks: If you registered for a learning program, additional details will be sent closer to your visit date.
At Shedd Aquarium, we believe there should be no boundaries to your experience. If you have an accommodation request related to a disability, please contact us at [email protected] or 312-692-3312. We look forward to assisting you.