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Bridget Coughlin, Shedd's CEO, stands before Shedd's historic bronze doors. Bridget C. Coughlin, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer

From the CEO: A Wave of Change at Shedd Aquarium

This story was originally published on May 18, 2017

At Shedd Aquarium, we connect you, as well as millions of guests with the natural world every day. Together we inspire people to care about animals and protect the Earth's beautiful water systems.

Today, I’m excited to share that we’re building on our legacy with a new mission— one that boldly brings our passion for connecting people to the natural world front and center. We are also introducing new definitions of what admission and access mean at Shedd Aquarium to help us deliver more mission moments to more people for years to come.

Our new mission is: Sparking compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world.

This mission is at the core of what we do 365 days a year. Compassion for animals evokes empathy for all of nature, which is marvelous, robust and equally fragile.

Curiosity highlights how the Shedd experience brings people closer to animals and their ecosystems. We believe that everyone who visits Shedd has an inner marine biologist, a scientist who wants to learn more, ask questions and simply be amazed.

Conservation has long been a key Shedd emphasis, but now with its clear, prominent addition to our mission we underscore the importance of protecting wild species and wild spaces in an urbanizing world. We have research scientists both on site and around the globe advancing our understanding and protecting the natural world.

Accomplishing all of this, however, starts with the spark that is ignited right here at Shedd Aquarium, and that means access to our experiences, experts and animals is more important than ever.

Conservation has long been a key Shedd emphasis, but now with its clear, prominent addition to our mission we underscore the importance of protecting wild species and wild spaces in an urbanizing world. We have research scientists both on site and around the globe advancing our understanding and protecting the natural world.

Accomplishing all of this, however, starts with the spark that is ignited right here at Shedd Aquarium, and that means access to our experiences, experts and animals is more important than ever.

Two members of the Army National Guard consider and touch a shark jawbone in Wild Reef as an expert explains.

As such, I’m excited to share that beginning July 1, entry to Shedd will be a redefined, single general admission that will accommodate more people, provide greater access to our exhibits and programs, and simplify, streamline and enhance your experience. These changes also mean our discount programs become free programs.

For Chicago locals, this change will mean greater access for nearly half the cost. For Illinois residents, it means the 52 designated discount days a year will become free days with access to nearly all exhibits and programs. For the Illinois teachers and K-12 school groups, U.S. active-duty military personnel, Chicago police and firefighters and more who receive free admission every day, it will also mean more access.

“This mission is at the core of what we do 365 days a year. The heart, head and hands. It’s a vision Shedd Aquarium is thrilled to embrace. It’s a vision of hope and action. We hope you join us on the journey.”

Bridget Coughlin, Shedd President and CEO

And, in our commitment to do even more, individuals and families presenting an Electronic Benefits Transfer card will now receive free access, every day through our enrollment in the Museums For All program beginning July 1. We are proud that Shedd will be the program’s first U.S. aquarium to participate.

It is our hope that all of these changes, inspired by our exciting new mission, leave more people transformed and inspired to help us stretch toward our Vision: A world thriving with aquatic life, sustained by people who love, understand and protect it.

This mission is at the core of what we do 365 days a year. The heart, head and hands. It’s a vision Shedd Aquarium is thrilled to embrace. It’s a vision of hope and action. We hope you join us on the journey.

Bridget Coughlin, Shedd President and CEO