The aquarium sounded like a great idea for the weekend and being a newcomer to the area it seemed like a wonderful way to see some of Chicago. I didn’t know what to expect of the Shedd Aquarium or the surrounding area but could not have been more pleasantly surprised by our arrival. There is parking directly in front of the aquarium and if you go past it there’s also a parking deck available. The cost for parking is $19 and only accepts cash so be prepared.
The John G. Shedd Aquarium’s architectural structure is combined with Roman and Greek forms in the grand style of Beaux Art. It is aesthetically beautiful and sits on the shore of Lake Michigan. There are huge bronze doors, sprawling staircase and Doric Columns to support the structure. The building is lovely but standing atop the lovely stair case is the view of Lake Michigan. It is breathtaking. The city buildings, lake and the boats form a picturesque scene that is not easily forgotten.
The main entrance is on the lower level and is the entrance for strollers and wheelchairs. It is here where you will find restrooms and the Kowler Family Hall where you can purchase food. Tickets can be made on the upper level, also. Pricing begins from $13.95- $499 depending on age and what plan you prefer to purchase. A family membership is $115 and allows two adults and up to four children to enter year around. Visiting twice will make up for the amount of the family plan so it may be worth the while to purchase this package.
Once entering the aquarium the scenery is breath taking giving a full view of Neptune’s trident. The Caribbean reef which is situated just underneath is full of life and can include catching a glimpse of employees swimming among the sea life. From here, the Shedd Aquarium is separated into areas of the Waters of the World. These areas are full of different sea life such as red bellied piranhas, iguanas, sea dragons, spider crabs and many, many more.
After perusing the upper level make your way downstairs to the Philippine Reef. This area was added on years after the original structure of the building had been established. This is amazing. There are sharks as well as stingrays and this floor was created so you can walk on water and see the ocean floor. Another surprise was the shark nursery. Along one of the walls there is a shark nursery and amazingly you can see the baby sharks inside translucent eggs. As of June 2009 the Shedd Aquarium will also reopen the Oceanarium Reimagination. It will be in this area where you will find dolphins and whales.
On your way out do not forget to stop by the gift shop and if you used the photo services upon entering the aquarium don’t forget to pick them up. The cost is $20 for a non member and $15 for members. Spend an hour or the afternoon and either way you’ll come away with great memory.
Contact information is www.sheddaquarium.org
phone number 312-939-2438