Shedd Aquarium#14 in Best Things To Do in Chicago
Shedd Aquarium is one of the world's largest indoor aquariums, housing around 32,000 creatures. While you're here, you can feel stingrays float beneath your fingers, listen to sea lions bark and learn all about a variety of turtles. A visit to Shedd Aquarium will lead you through a cornucopia of habitats, where you'll find additional animals like penguins, piranhas, sharks and beluga whales. Or, for an additional fee, you can participate in specialty experiences like animal encounters, feeding experiences and behind-the-scenes tours.
Though many travelers said they enjoyed their time at the aquarium, a few bemoaned the additional fees incurred here for parking, special exhibits and hands-on experiences. Lines to get into the aquarium are also known to get long, so it's best to purchase upgraded tickets online (general admission tickets are not available online) or arrive early.
Basic tickets include access to the property's main areas: Waters of the World, Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising, Wild Reef, Abbott Oceanarium, Polar Play Zone. Admission costs $39.95 for adults and $29.95 children. Tours, feedings and interactive animal experiences are also offered for an additional fee. Travelers with a Chicago CityPASS or a Go Chicago Card receive a complimentary Shedd Pass; all ticket holders will have access to restrooms, a gift shop and three cafes. You'll find the Shedd Aquarium in the Museum Campus portion of Grant Park sandwiched between The Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium. You can get there by taking the Green, Orange or Red L lines to Roosevelt station or by taking the No. 130 or 146 bus to the Solidarity Drive & Aquarium bus stop. A parking garage is also located on the Museum Campus. You'll likely also pass by the aquarium while on a Segway tour. The aquarium is open daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., except on weekdays in the winter when the property closes at 5 p.m. For more information, visit the Shedd Aquarium website.
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#1 Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain
Often referred to as "Chicago's front yard," Grant Park is a 319-acre swath of green space that starts at the eastern edge of the Loop and stretches down to the northern fringes of the Near South Side. First-time visitors should plan on spending a fair amount of time in Grant Park: This is where you'll find several of Chicago's most popular things to do, including The Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and Shedd Aquarium. (Millennium Park also rubs elbows with the northwest corner of Grant Park.) Baseball diamonds, flower gardens, walking paths and wide-open grassy terrain are available as well.
At the heart of Grant Park is Buckingham Fountain. One of the largest fountains in the world, this tiered water feature boasts 133 jets that shoot water as high as 150 feet into the air during 20-minute choreographed displays (which take place every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 10:35 p.m. from April to October). At night, the fountain's performance is accompanied by lights and music.
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