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“Skip the 4D movie and Enjoy the Aquarium”
Review of Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium
Book In Advance
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US$75.00*
and up
Chicago Explorer Pass
Ranked #27 of 683 things to do in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Shedd Aquarium brings you eye-to-eye with more than 32,000 aquatic animals - from whales to snails, tarantulas to turtles, angelfish to zebra sharks!
Reviewed 3 August 2012

We loved this place! I actually was surprised. We have been to several aquariums, but this one has unique exhibits, something about them were "out of the box." My favorite was how we could stand on a glass floor and have small stingrays beneath us in the shark room. You could get down on your knees and see them under you. Neat.

We parked in the Soldier Field parking lot at 8:30 a.m. with our printed at home tickets in hand. We were sooooo thankful for having our tickets already because the line at 8:45 am was already sooooo long for people without tickets. They open at 9:00. We were in the "Will Call" line and was one of the first 20 people into the place. We got our wristband for all activities and were on our way within a few minutes.

We headed to the Jellies exhibit which was much smaller than what I thought. We saw the belugas and dolphins without the crowds and allowed our son to play in the really awesome "submarine" in the play place. We REALLY wish we would have gone to the Amazon, etc. places upstairs earlier because later at 1:30 when we left, the CROWDS were horrible! (Sunday visit) It reminded me of Disney how peaceful it was at opening, but after lunch it was unbearably crowded. We should have SKIPPED the 4D movie at 11:20 and saw exhibits instead. IF you do a movie, do it around 2:00 or so AFTER you have seen the place without crowds. We wasted the uncrowded time in a movie.

The aquatic show was a disappointment. We did it at 10:20, (same idea, I wish we would have done the show later at 2ish when the place was crowded since you have a ticket for it) and it only included 3 belugas and a bird. There was a lot of sign language between the trainers, so I think the dolphins were not cooperating or something. It wasn't that great. Oh, make sure you do line up 30 minutes before the show or you won't get a decent seat. I was amazed with that. The 'seats' are literally concrete/rock filled solid hard walls that were really uncomfortable for my husband's back. Compare it to sitting on a curb of a downtown street except taller.

The food was amazing at the food court downstairs for being fast food. (There was also an upstairs restaurant that didn't have much on the menu.) Downstairs they had a mexican section and I ordered a burritto bowl that tasted very similar to Chipotle. It was delicious for only $7.95. My daughter loved the grilled chicken skewers at the section next to the Mexican. They had a lot to pick from and we loved the seating outside overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan and the skyline.

We would have loved to stay longer but it was so crowded we had to leave at 2ish. We got some great pictures outside with the Lake and skyline in the background as we left. We then headed over to the Adler Planetarium for the afternoon where there were NO lines and it was awesome!

7  Thank teachermama1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6,129 - 6,133 of 8,022 reviews

Reviewed 3 August 2012

The aquarium was very well done with a lot of effort put into the exhibits. In several areas we came across very friendly and knowledgable staff who were able to point out things we likely would've missed. The extra exhibits add up but are well done. The dolphin show is certainly not Sea World quality as you spend most of it just listening to the MC talk about the dolphins- very little time is spent actually seeing them do their behaviors.

This would've been a great day if we had not ate lunch there. We visited 8 different museums as well as 2 zoos on this trip and even when crowded- all were set up to move people through except for Shedd. Their system is awful. You wait in a long line just to get into the cafeteria. We waited almost 30 minutes just to get in. When we were almost to the front of that line- my wife tried to go sit down. She was very rudely told that she was not allowed to save a table and she had to stay in line. After waiting in that line- they have multiple food stations- each with its own line. For instance, if you want pizza and a burger- you must wait in long lines 2 more times. It was ridiculous. So after waiting in 3 different lines- it was time to pay. Yes- another line to pay for the food. This one wasn't as long though. I asked the cashier if they had cups for water- she glared at me and responded very curtly that they "didn't give cups for that, you have to buy a drink." I was not a happy camper by the time we sat down to eat.

As I said, every employee we met throughout the day was very polite and helpful except for the cafeteria staff. They really need some people skills training!!!

3  Thank Irishssa1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2012 via mobile

Absolutely recommend! Lots to see! You can literally spend an entire day at the aquarium. Also recommend purchasing the Chicago city pass. This will avoid waiting in any lines. You have priority over the people who have not purchased tickets yet. And city pass is also good for other Chicago attractions! Have fun :)

1  Thank BrenRod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2012

Seattle has a nice aquarium and Chicago's was very similar. Loved the first floor, which you can access for the $8 fee. The more expensive $30+ ticket gets you a few more exhibits but I wouldn't say it was worth it as we have a hands-on exhibit here and the sit-down show was sold out and you couldn't attend yet price included the show. Wish we'd spent that time at another Chicago landmark as nothing special for us. Others there were in awe but us, not so much.

1  Thank ttshutterbug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2012

We had a good time here. Go early to avoid the line up. Purchase the total Experience Visit/Package which includes the Aquatic Show and 4D movie and any current exhibitions.

1  Thank Summer5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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