NWI Parent

Off to Shedd

February 15th, 2010 - By Jamie Bissot

One of our first trips into Chicago was spent at Shedd Aquarium.  It’s such a quick trip from Northwest Indiana and well, I love it there.  I’ve always loved aquariums, but this one is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  Now that we’ve been here a little over 6 months, I would guess we’ve gone 6 or 7 times.  That’s probably due to the fact that we have a membership and feel we should use it, but somehow or another, on a lazy day, we often find ourselves there, wandering through the up-close exhibits in awe.

One of the first things that struck me about the aquarium was the beauty of the building itself.  Nestled in the museum campus on the banks of Lake Michigan, its sprawling staircase and grand entrance immediately informs you that you are to prepare for an experience.  The breathtaking architecture is something that even this amateur can appreciate.

Once inside, you can’t help but notice the incredible doors, soaring ceilings and cool marble all around.  Indeed, before you’ve even paid admission, you’ve received a treat for the eyes.  You can only imagine the faces of people as they took the first steps into the aquarium in 1929.  Since then, the building has undergone renovations and expansions and has found its way onto the National Historic Landmarks registry.

But the exhibits, the exhibits here are my favorite.  I love the Waters of the World exhibits, while the kids prefer the Polar Play Zone – where they can spy on the dolphins, Beluga Whales and Penguins.  And,when they tire of watching, there are plenty of places to stop and play a bit.

We also took some time this trip to attend the new Fantasea show.  It was crowded – but the staff was very efficient in finding seats for as many as possible, while making sure that everyone could see and enjoy the show.  I loved it – but I am a sucker for those Belugas.  Always have been.  The show is as interactive as it can be with that many people in attendance, but it’s still a treat for everyone.

One thing that is also new there – although we did not participate, is the Beluga Encounter.  What an experience – although, with a hefty pricetag of $250 ($225 for members), it’s not for everyone.  But, if you do decide to cough up the dough, I believe it might be worth it – participants get to go up close and personal with a Beluga Whale trainer for an experience like no other!

So, while this trip wasn’t new to me entirely, it is one of my favorite things (so far) to do.  The quick trip to Chicago is worth it to see the looks on my children’s faces as the dolphins spin in the air, as they touch the starfish and giggle and as they pretend to be penguins.  A definite good time to be had by all.

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