Even though it’s the Midwest’s capital city, Chicago has always had a good maritime culture being right on the shores of Lake Michigan. This culture extends to having one of the best aquariums in the country with Shedd Aquarium, a fun place to spend the weekend with the family.

While at the aquarium you can learn all about aquatic life from both freshwater and ocean environments. You and your kids can get up close with wildlife such as sharks, sea stars, sea otters, stingrays, and beluga whales.

Family First Saturdays are a great time to visit the aquarium. Every Saturday, the aquarium has special programs to encourage exploration and hands-on activities with various sea creatures. Some of the upcoming programs include otters, penguins, dolphins, and the beluga whale. This program is included in the cost of admission to the aquarium. Family First programming takes place on Saturdays from 10 AM to noon.

While at the aquarium, you will also want to check out some of their other exhibits and regular programming. The aquarium is open from 9 AM to 5 PM on weekdays and 9 AM to 6 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Regular daily shows include a Live Dive and Feeding at the Caribbean Reef, Look and Learn Penguins in the Polar Play Zone, Sturgeon Touch, Stingray Touch, and Sea Star Touch.

There are also 4-D experience movies on a daily schedule too. Movies include an Undersea Adventure, Prehistoric Adventure and Shark Experience. The Aquarium also has after-hours events, overnights, and yoga classes. They also host programs on conservation and water resources.

Habitat displays are fun any day of the week. The aquarium has a Caribbean Reef, Abbot Oceanarium, Amazon River, Freshwater River, Gardens, Great Lakes Wildlife, and Island Habitat. In the Polar Play Zone, many of the animals will come right up to the glass to interact with you and your children.

One of the best things about the museum is that all of the displays are designed so that the wildlife is up close and at the right height for young explorers. It is designed to be an immersive and interactive experience.

Enjoy the Chicago Riverwalk

The Shedd Aquarium is located on the shores of Lake Michigan next to the Adler Planetarium so that you can enjoy both in the same day. It is also close to Grant Park, the Art Institute of Chicago and the McCormick Bird Sanctuary. It is only a short distance from Chicago Riverwalk where you can kayak on the river, enjoy fine dining or perhaps catch a show at the Renaissance.

Accommodations

You might enjoy staying at one of the Chicago Riverwalk hotels such as the Omni Chicago Hotel, Silversmith Hotel Chicago Downtown or Hotel Blake Chicago. Our favorite place to stay is the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

The Hyatt Regency is a modern facility with several dining options from farm-to-fork to sushi. You can enjoy cocktails served with a view of the beautiful Chicago River. It is located close to major downtown attractions including museums and Navy Pier.