Whether you’re in town for a few days, a few weeks, or even longer, you won’t want to miss out on a visit to one of the world’s largest indoor aquariums. Located near short-term housing in Chicago, Shedd Aquarium is home to 32,000 animals representing 1,500 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from around the world. Opened in 1930, Shedd Aquarium welcomes approximately 2 million guests each year.
Before entering the establishment, make sure to take in the grandeur of the aquarium’s façade, which was designated by the National Park Service as a national historic landmark. Since its opening day, Shedd Aquarium has doubled in size from 225,000 square feet to 480,500 square feet thanks to the addition of the Abbott Oceanarium and Wild Reef exhibits.
The Abbott Oceanarium opened in 1991 and features beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Alaska and California otters, and California sea lions in a re-creation of a Pacific Northwest coastal environment. The largest expansion in the aquarium’s history, it covers 170,000 square feet of the aquarium on four levels.
The Wild Reef exhibit opened in 2003 and gives guests a glimpse into the Philippine coral reef, which is the most diverse ecosystem in the world. Shedd imported 17.5 tons of sand from the Philippines for the seabed in the shark habitat and for the exhibit floor.
In addition to the exhibits and programs the aquarium offers, Shedd is dedicated to several conservation efforts and initiatives, including research in the Caribbean, coral restoration projects, and a sustainable seafood program. It is also committed to projects designed to preserve endangered aquatic species throughout the world.Take a relaxing day from your trip near short-term housing in Chicago and visit the wonders of Shedd Aquarium.