The hypnotic lure of sea jellies at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago
Monday, April 18, 2011
There's something almost hypnotic about watching the jellyfish pulse and float in the exhibit tanks at Shedd Aquarium. For once, my three kids weren't in a hurry to get to the next exhibit. Instead, all four of us stood gazing at the translucent sea jellies on display at the Shedd's new temporary exhibit.
The exhibit, which just opened last week, consists of more than 10 different kinds of jellies, including a kid favorite - the upside-down jellies -plus plenty of other see-through creatures set against brightly colored backgrounds.
The jellies are displayed along with interactive elements that teach visitors about these fascinating creatures that survive without brains, blood or bones. As the multi-hued jellies drifted in the tanks, dragging their long tentacles behind them, almost every visitor to the exhibit stopped and took photos and videos.
And that may be the only drawback to the exhibit. Most of the display tanks are fairly small, and people lingered at each one, making it hard for kids to see what was going on unless they were willing to wait patiently for their turn. We beat most of the crowd by hitting the exhibit first thing after the aquarium opened - a couple hours later when we were leaving, the exhibit was quite crowded.
A real plus for "Jellies" is that it transcends ages - even the toddlers and preschoolers in the crowd were mesmerized by the jellies, but no more so than all the adults who couldn't pull themselves away from each tank. It's definitely worth the trip to the Shedd for this exhibit.
"Jellies" runs at the Shedd through May 28. Tickets are $3 per person if added to the basic Shedd Pass, and are included in the Shedd Pass Plus and Total Experience Pass tickets.