Rich with museums, parks, and history, Chicago is an amazing city to experience as a family. As a local, one of our favorite touristy spots to visit is the Shedd Aquarium. So, during our recent stay at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile we were thrilled when the Marriott team gave us complimentary tickets to the Shedd.
The Shedd Aquarium is extraordinary and fun for visitors of all ages. However, just like all big city activities, visiting the Shedd can be crazy during busy times—but always worth while.
Here are our tips for making the most of your visit:
- Make the most of parking: If you plan to park, consider parking in the planetarium lot. It is cheaper before 9 a.m.
- Get there early: Arrive right when they open to see as much as possible before the crowds increase.
- Take advantage of the stroller entrance: Don’t be afraid to bring a stroller and use the far right stroller entrance. It’s a lifesaver because you won’t have to wait in line.
- Decorate your stroller: Grab some ribbons or something distinguishable so that someone with a similar model doesn’t accidentally take yours.
- Plan for shows: Get advance tickets for the dolphin show, and check the times to watch the divers feed the fish.
- Hit the gift shop first: Buy a postcard of an animal that each of you wants to find. Then, go hunt for it in the aquarium. It’s fun to search and snap a photo once you succeed.
- Have a plan: With little ones on busy days, strategize with crowds in mind. Head downstairs to see the reef where the tanks come down to the floor so your kids can and ooh and ahh. Next, go to the bottom level of the Oceanarium for touch play, polar play, and submarine areas. That way if the crowds get overwhelming, you’ve done the best parts for little kids.
- Stay for lunch: Grab lunch in the restaurant, or pack snacks and a lunch. Kids will love eating in front of the dolphin tanks on the bottom level or having a picnic outside by the lakefront on a beautiful day.
- Don’t overdo it: Visit the play area by the penguin exhibit. Kids will love the chance to blow off steam!
A special thanks to the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile for our complimentary tickets to the Shedd! You guys were all so awesome during our stay!
Photo credits courtesy of http://www.sheddaquarium.org