Ecology Resources

Shedd Aquarium
1200 Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

Mission: The Shedd Aquarium promotes the enjoyment, appreciation and conservation of aquatic life and environments through education, exhibits and research.

Accessibility: Open to the public

Admission: $23 for an all access pass.

Exhibits: Many Shedd exhibits focus on different environments such as Caribbean coral reefs, the Amazon, and Pacific rocky coasts. For example, the Amazon Rising exhibit tells the story of the Amazon River, which floods annually for up to six months, bringing a diverse wildlife deep into the heard of the surrounding rainforest. Organisms including the anaconda, piranhas, and arawanas are showcased in this exhibit. The aquarium even has underwater viewing areas, which allow visitors to come face to face—literally—with whales, dolphins, and many other creatures. Other exhibits, such as CRABS!, explore the diversity of a single family. Many different species of crab (including the blue crap, coconut crab, and Japanese spider crab) are shown in this exhibit. Of course, the Shedd Aquarium also has a huge exhibit of fish from around the world. You can truly go “around the world in eighty tanks,” visiting different ecosystems such as the Illinois Lakes and Rivers, Tropical Waters, and Ocean Coasts.

Events & Activities: The Shedd Aquarium has many events offered throughout the day. Shows include everything from a marine mammal presentation with whales and dolphins to a Caribbean reef dive. Hands-on experiences are also offered; their new “Trainer for a Day” program allows you to go behind-the-scenes and assist a marine mammal trainer in their daily routine. For $1895, you can even join Shedd biologist Chuck Knapp as he journeys to the Bahamas to do research on the endangered Andros Iguana. For those who want a more mundane experience, various seminars and classes are offered for youths, families, and adults. Many programs and workshops are offered to teachers as well.

Additional Resources: Through arrangements with Shedd, a variety of opportunities are offered for schools. Activity guides, special field trips to the Shedd, and outreach programs are all available. Through the outreach program, teachers from Shedd can come to your school to teach. Their website also offers various resources to answer questions about marine life and ecosystems.

Behind-the-Scenes: The Shedd Aquarium is highly involved in conservation efforts, both locally and globally. In June 2005 they launched their Great Lakes Forever project to raise awareness of the value and vulnerability of the Great Lakes. The aquarium is also active in the Chicago Wilderness program, which works to conserve a 200,000 + acre area of land which is home to many rare ecosystems. Internationally, the Shedd is a partner to the Project Seahorse operation, which works to save the seahorse from the avarice of the human population. The Shedd participates in everything from research, to active help with the seahorse population, to educating the population about this endangered and highly sought-after creature.

Volunteer Opportunities: There are many opportunities for volunteers at the Shedd Aquarium. They can serve as tour guides, give presentations, or work at a desk. For those who desire a more marine-type experience, everything from laboratory work to marine mammal husbandry.

Prepared by MV