Big Changes at the Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium, one of the most popular and most visited attractions in Chicago, recently announced a new mission. Their new mission is: “Sparking compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world.”

In an effort to increase access to the exhibits, experts, and animals, and to streamline and simplify ticketing, the Shedd is changing it’s ticketing structure from tiered admission prices to a flat fee. The tiered ticketing meant that guests had the option of paying general admission – which excluded many of the most popular exhibits – or purchasing a “Total Experience Pass” for access to all exhibits at the cost of about $40 per adult and about $30 per child.

As of July 1st, general admission will now include experiences of the Total Experience Pass. General admission will include all exhibits, special exhibits, the aquatic presentation (depending on availability), and the seasonal Stingray Touch experience (available May through October). The cost of general admission will now be $39.95 for adults and $29.95 for children, but Chicago residents will receive a considerable discount – Only $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for children. The 4-D Experience will be an additional fee of $4.95.

These prices will be valid on-site or advanced online purchasing. Visitors will want to plan ahead and purchase those tickets at least a day in advance, or be prepared to stand in the on-site purchasing line; there will be an additional $15 fee for same-day online purchases that allow you to skip the long line.

As a special bonus for Illinois residents, this means that discount days are now free days! Since there are 52 of them throughout the year, this is a big deal!

Free admission is available everyday for Illinois teachers and k-12 school groups, U.S. active-duty military personnel, Chicago police and firefighters, and EBT card holders through the Museums for All program.

Need a cheat sheet? What this means is:

  • Chicago residents will save as much as 50% to experience all the exhibits at the Shedd Aquarium.
  • 52 FREE days for Illinois residents
    • June 5, 6, 12, 13
    • August 28, 29
    • September 6-30
  • A streamlined admission process (maybe we’ll see those lines go down!)
  • No more internal ticket checkpoints at exhibits, making it easier to explore all areas

What do you think of the new pricing structure at the Shedd Aquarium? Are you more or less likely to visit the Shedd this summer with the changes? 

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