Open 9 am - 5 pm

Choose a virtual experience

A rockhopper penguin hatched at Shedd, grown into its waterproof black and white adult feathers.

Virtual Penguin Encounter

Duration: Approximately 45 minutes
Ages: All ages

You’ve followed the penguins on their adventures. Now for a limited time, you can meet them up close in their habitat! Will you waddle with Wellington? Hang out with rockhopper penguin pair Edward and Annie? Meet Magellanic penguins Izzy and Darwin?

Sea lion Laguna sits mid-turn, tail curled around.

Virtual Sea Lion Encounter

Duration: Approximately 30 minutes
Ages: All ages

You may know California sea lions best for their loud vocalizations, and their ability to traverse both land and water. During this encounter you will meet one of the four rescued sea lions at Shedd—Cruz, Laguna, or Tanner—and learn how their rescue and rehabilitation gave them second chance at life.

Sea otter Luna's dark coloring and light-colored whiskers make her easy to pick out among the other otters.

Virtual Sea Otter Encounter

Duration: Approximately 40 minutes.
Ages: All ages

Meet the sea otters at Shedd Aquarium—virtually! Come face-to-face with the playful, adorable sea otters that call Shedd home. Join us behind the scenes (virtually) for a sea otter play session. Watch them dive, socialize, vocalize and groom and find out how their sustainable, restaurant-quality food prep happens. Dive in and explore the world of sea otters firsthand!

Benefits of a private virtual experience

  • A private program for only you and your group
  • A dedicated program host and an animal care expert to engage one-on-one with your group
  • A family-friendly learning experience
  • Exclusive views into behind-the-scenes areas

Enhance your experience!

To enhance your experience, Shedd Aquarium offers the ability to customize elements of your private virtual experience. We can:

  • partner with our gift store to send your guests a party favor
  • visit a second animal habitat to extend the time of your experience

To request personalized pricing for your customized experience, indicate which of the experiences above you are most interested in on the Private Encounters Request Form. Some scheduling limitations may apply.


We believe there should be no boundaries to your Shedd Aquarium experience. If you have an accommodation request related to a disability, please let us know by including any requested accommodations or questions on the Private Encounters Request Form.

What are participants saying was the highlight of their private virtual encounters?

  • “The entire experience was so high that it's hard to pick the highest.”
  • “[Our host’s] energy made the experience so enjoyable! I learned so much about otters, and it made me really want to go visit. The trainers were also extremely knowledgeable and contributed to the high energy experience! I felt like a little kid again!”
  • “It was more interactive and educational than expected!”
  • “It was more interactive than I thought it would be and I learned some new things about otters!”
  • “Even though it was a virtual experience, it was interactive with the chat feature and poll questions. It was a really nice experience. Thank you!”
  • “It was very engaging. The hosts did an amazing job. We learned a lot.”