GETTING TO KNOW CHICAGO: THE SHEDD AQUARIUM

Having family visiting the city created a perfect opportunity to explore a bit more of Chicago, a bit more of my new lovely city. Saturday morning we woke up bright and early and made our way to Chicago’s beloved Shedd Aquarium. To be completely honest, I am not a huge fan of aquariums. I kind of had the mindset “seen one fish, ya’ve seen ’em all.” But I’ve heard such fantastic things about this aquarium in particular and I knew it would be so much fun going with my baby cousin.

The aquarium opened at 9am and lines began forming outside immediately. Thankfully savvy Aubrey was able to get us VIP tickets and we by passed the line and headed straight in towards the excitement. The building is divided into a handful of different climates and locations in the world from tropical forests to the Great Lakes. We saw exotic fish, creepy looking fish, and downright terrifying looking fish. We saw frogs, iguanas, eels, and lizards. And we saw jelly fish — probably my favorite sight. They were absolutely beautiful and looked so soothing, so peaceful as they blooped {I cannot think of a verb better than bloop to describe how they move, they really bloop} through the water.

Dolphins have been one of my absolute favorite animals for quite some time now and I was in awe watching a mama dolphin and her baby swim so close to me. It was magical.

But truly more than anything, the most exciting part of being at the aquarium was watching little Gemma Bird’s reactions to it all. I probably spent 25% of my time appreciating the creatures before me and the rest of the time delighting in little Birdie’s expressions. She is just the sweetest little girl and I had the best time with her.

We finished the day by watching a beluga whale show in their main theater. I have seen seal lion shows, dolphin shows, and orca whale shows, but this was my first beluga whale show. It was fun to see but in my opinion a little bit heavy on the talking and light on the action. The belugas were precious and waved and splashed, but don’t go into the show expecting to see the flips and jumps that are typical of dolphin and orca shows.

And so my overall verdict? The aquarium is a winner. Take your kids, or your nieces and nephews, or borrow your neighbors little ones because that is what truly makes the experience so special. Arrive early and get in and out. We were able to see everything and really enjoy it all before the crowds arrived for at least two hours. I did chat with a few people who said skip the free days — they are just too crazy to even have fun. And let it be noted, the aquarium is extremely family friendly with family restrooms, elevators, children’s play sections, and stroller watchers. Hats off to you Chicago, you’ve got a pretty dandy aquarium to add to your already rad resume.

if you’re lucky enough to spend an afternoon at Shedd Aquarium, you’re lucky enough

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