Chicago Sights to See - Shedd Aquarium
Found in Chicago,
on the shores of Lake
Michigan, the John G. Shedd Aquarium is widely acknowledged to be among the world's finest. Home to more than
650 species of fish, reptile, amphibians, birds and mammals, they have
over 8,000 individual animals from around the world.
Since 1930, the collection has grown to include a 90,000 coral reef exhibit, whale and dolphin habitats, an Amazon display, penguins and much more.
In the Marine Mammal
show, Pacific White-Sided dolphins
put on a show that will entertain kids and adults. Be sure to show up at least half
an hour before show time to get a good seat, though. The aquarium can
be crowded and gates sometimes close 15-20 minutes before it begins.
In the Oceanarium
exhibit you'll have a chance to see all the creatures that inhabit this 3,000,000 gallon tank of seawater, the largest indoor
marine mammal habitat in the world. The tank is separated into different sections and each one has something interesting to offer.
In Secluded Bay you can check out the 3,000 pound Beluga Whales.
There's an underground viewing area where you can see these large, but graceful animals show their stuff.
Walk along a little farther and you can visit Penguin Shore, where there are two different species of these delightful flightless birds.
Sometimes the staff members will share a feel of real penguin feathers with visitors.
In the Wild
Reef section you can find an awesome variety of
colorful coral reefs, featuring over 20 different habitats and hundreds of
species. Over 500,000 gallons of water hold a stunning array of polyps,
anemones and other small creatures. But it also holds more than two
dozen sharks that commonly occupy such reefs in the wild.
Rising exhibit shows you what life is like in
rainforests of South America, with hundreds of different jungle
creatures. The rainforests in the wild get over a hundred inches of
rain per year, so you can tell the area is aptly named. Within the
exhibit there are dozens of snakes, poisonous frogs and spiders. There
are even venomous ants, along with 73 different kinds of catfish.
The area has two separate galleries in an 8,600 square foot
walk-through area, simulating a flooded forest. The flood waters can be
as high as six feet! Be sure your camera can handle the low light
conditions, since no flash photography is allowed.
Covering almost half the upper level is the Waters of the World exhibit. It displays everything from the frozen seas of northern Alaska
to the tropical waters of northern Australia and contains over 75 distinct habitats. You'll find four sections: Rivers, Islands and
Lakes, Oceans and Local waters.
In the exhibit are over 300 different species, including everything
from iguanas to River Otters, turtles to an Australian Lungfish.
There are touch screens that display tons of information about the animals, too.
Come see the circular tank in the Caribbean Reef, built in 1971, and
watch the divers feed the animals while they tell you all about them.
No matter what kind of sea creature is of interest you'll find many
examples at the Shedd Aquarium, located at 1200 South Lake Shore Drive.
See the website at www.sheddaquarium.org for details.
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