So a few weeks ago on a free Monday I took my family to the John G. Shedd Aquarium and let me tell about their upcoming free days: February 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 27, 28.
Now that just gets you in the door, extras like the shows in the Oceanarium, movies (yeah they have a theater downstairs now), you still gotta pay for.
Also this is for residents of the state of Illinois only.
I hadn’t stepped in the Aquarium in a good 20 years, some things had changed (actually a lot had changed) and somethings are still the same.
I went with my wife and 20 month old toddler, rolling in his jogging stroller and you can the eastern ramp entrance downstairs to enter instead of the 20,000 steps at the front door.
Of course its 2017 so be prepared to have your bags checked when you get in and then you get your tickets and you see the updated school lunchroom. I had a few baloney sandwiches in the old one with my classmates from Paul Revere school in South Shore, good times.
You then take the elevator to the main floor and it’s still the historic & gorgeous lobby leading to the main tank and several aisles to the other geographically designated halls.
We got there around 10:30 and they still do the morning feeding in the main large tank with the diver underwater speaking like he’s Darth Vader or Charlie Brown’s teacher.
The nice thing is there is a host with a microphone on the outside speaking with the diver so you know what’s going on and can even ask questions. I don’t remember that from before.
However as fascinated and reminiscent it was to me, my toddler son wasn’t amused but it was awesome that it was early and most people were still at the feeding so the other halls were almost empty.
If you have a small child, take advantage of that, let them run around a little because by 11:15, the foot traffic multiplies and small children can’t run around.
In one hall, they had an open tank small enough for children say older than 3 can walk up to it and of course they want to stick their hand in but a very observant and disciplined employee is there to make sure no children fall in or get bit (or most likely gummed), so its all good.
My son was too small for that but we were able to check out the various fish and regional waterways, including the beautiful Amazon section and my favorite the local waterways and fish. Including our nemesis the Asian carp (man are they ugly), and other local fish.
The best part though is downstairs, there’s a penguin section with a small play area for the smaller children, the previously mentioned theatre and the awesome Oceanarium.
That’s the section they built out to the east with the dolphins and you can see a show or in our case an up close feeding.
The nice part about the Aquarium is that it goes quick, so in a little of two hours you can see just about everything and the little ones don’t get completely bored.
And take advantage of these free days this month because they don’t offer any more until June and general admission starts at $ 8.00.
Filed under: Chicago