Would you put your hand in a tank of alligators?

How up close and personal do you like your aquatic life? If your answer is “elbow deep into a touch tank,” you’re not going to want to miss this one. The third annual Aquatic Experience Chicago is bringing the world’s only traveling gator show–Gator Encounters–to our neck of the woods.

Aquatic Experience Chicago

When: Nov. 6-8

Where: Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, 1551 Thoreau Drive North, Schaumburg

Visit: worldpetassociation.org

Not only will you get your chance with that touch tank of gators, but the 64,000-square-foot venue also features octopus and piranha tanks, a showcase of fish from around the world, and an exhibition floor featuring the best in aquatic trends and products.

Doug Poindexter, the president of the World Pet Association, says their goal is to “inform and educate the general public to ensure safe and healthy lifestyles for our animal friends.” At the Aquatic Experience in particular, “young children [can get] involved in a hobby that teaches compassion and responsibility,” he says.

Surely the WPA president has a favorite part of the Aquatic Experience, right? “I’m personally a total fish geek, so it’s hard to select a favorite exhibit. I really appreciate the variety of aquatic animals and plants in the Fish From Around the World … It’s a beautiful and relaxing space to spend time enjoying the surroundings,” he says.

This family-friendly event is anything but a fly (or swim) by. With its $25 family pass (for two adults and up to four kids), you can stay the day–and afford to bring all your little guppies.

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