Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium to bring ocean creatures to Chicago in new spring exhibits

Chicago is a long way from the ocean, but this spring, a pair of exhibits will be bringing creatures of the deep to the city.

[Get a sneak peek! Listen to a whale song here]

The Shedd Aquarium’s Jellies and the Field Museum’s Whales open in April and May, respectively, and include up-close and interactive looks at some drastically different animals.

Jellies is an original exhibit and will open April 15 in the space currently occupied by the welcome center. More than 10 species of jellyfish, including translucent moon jellies and upside-down jellies, will be on display, with several species being brought in to join the three species already at the aquarium.

Aquarium spokeswoman Melissa Kruth says the impetus for the exhibit came from a close look at the Shedd’s social media buzz.

“On Flickr and Youtube, jellies were the most photographed and videoed of our animals,” she says. “They’re enormously popular and we’re very excited about the expanded exhibit.”

Whales: Giants of the Deep, which run at the Field May 20 to Jan. 16, 2011, combines the science of whales with their cultural significance to cultures around the world. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a pair of full sperm whale skeletons, stretching 58 and 32 feet long, and a car-sized model of a blue whale heart that kids can crawl through. The exhibit also includes whale songs, exhibits about traditional South Pacific cultures, and a virtual scuba dive to hunt giant squid.

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