Tips for your family trip to Shedd Aquarium


One of our favorite places to visit in the winter is Shedd Aquarium. It's a great escape from the chilly Chicago weather and there's always a new creature to meet.

Plus, January and February are packed full of free days so the only thing you have to pay for is a locker for your coat. And don't forget that if you're a Bank of America customer, the first full weekend of every month is always free at Shedd.

To help your family make the most of a trip to Shedd, we've pulled together this list of simple tips.


Baby love

There are a lot of new babies to see at Shedd and we loved welcoming each of them in 2012. Now they are all old enough to be around visitors and are super playful. Before you go, read each of our stories on these cuties:


Don't ignore the signs

It's easy to get mesmorized by the jellies or get lost following the sharks around their tank, but don't forget about the vast learning opportunities at Shedd. Stopping to read every sign would make the kids impatient and would really stretch out a visit, but when you see your child really stuck on an animal that's a great time to start reading.

A lot of the signs are interactive, especially in Wild Reef, and reading a few of them can really make the most of your visit. Plus, your kids will love bragging about the cool facts they learned about their favorite animals.



If by some really strange sequence of events, you have yet to visit the Jellies exhibit, you're in luck. The exhibit has been extended through 2013 and you don't want to miss it. The exhibit costs $3, but if you go on a free day, it's an affordable add-on.

The jellyfish are truly amazing creatures to learn about and watch and each tank is at a nice height for every member of the family.


Monkey business

There's one kind of animal that always catches us off-guard when we visit the aquarium. The monkeys. Monkeys at an aquarium. Sure, it may not sound like it makes sense but we love seeing the little titi monkeys climb around above the Amazon Rising exhibit.

If you want to add a game element to your visit, tell the kids about an animal that doesn't seem to belong and see how quickly they can find the quick climbers.


Helpful reminders

Pack your own snacks

There are a few different dining options but the lines can get long and the cost can add up. Instead, pack your own snacks and eat at the tables down near the Polar Play Zone. While you eat, you can watch dolphins and whales swim by and feel like you're underwater.

Pick and choose

There are a lot of animals in a lot of different exhibits at Shedd. Your visit can be overwhelming, especially if you're wrangling a couple of kids and a stroller. Take advantage of the free days and choose what you want to see on each visit. Try planning ahead by making a theme for each visit, like a trip to see all those new babies.


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