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!
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