We are closed to the public through April 30.
Participants in Shedd's Kayak for Conservation program sit in single-person canoes on the Chicago river. One participant holds a trash bag open for another, who has scooped a piece of trash from the river using a mechanical gripper.

River Explorers

$29 per person / $24 Shedd members

The River Explorers program is a two-hour, entry-level paddling experience focused on acquainting participants with the Chicago River, the threats it faces and ways to take action. Guided by Shedd experts, participants will engage in invertebrate and litter monitoring and gain the knowledge to become advocates of Chicago’s “blue-green corridor” while contributing important conservation data.

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A participant in Shedd's Kayak for Conservation sits in a blue single-person kayak on the Chicago River, peering through binoculars at the trees bordering the river.

River Monitors

$35 per person / $29 Shedd members

The River Monitors program is for intermediate and advanced paddlers and includes a three-hour experience during which participants gain comprehensive knowledge of the Chicago River, with a deepened understanding of the river’s ecology. Guided by a Shedd expert in wildlife monitoring, participants learn and employ monitoring protocols that contribute critical conservation data for the health of the Chicago River.

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River Explorers: $29 ($24 for members)

River Monitors: $35 ($29 for members)


Paused in April for temporary closure

River Explorers: weekly on Wednesdays from 9:30am to 11:30 am and 1pm to 3pm and every other Saturday from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.

River Monitors: every other Saturday from 9:30am to 12:30pm


Participants must be 16 or older and comfortable operating a kayak independently. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

What to bring

Participants are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles and sunscreen, and wear weather-appropriate outdoor clothing and shoes.


The River Explorers option is available for groups of up to 15 for a flat rate of $600. Discounted rates are available for not-for-profit organizations and schools. Please contact us for more information.


Contact us by email or call 312-692-2438