The Shedd Aquarium opened in 1930 with the goal of being the most modern aquarium in the world. This was due in large part to the vision of its namesake, John G. Shedd.  He donated the first two million dollars to get the project started and another one million dollars to ensure the aquarium was as grand as the two existing museums in Grant Park: the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum. Shedd only lived long enough to see the architect’s drawings of the Beaux Arts masterpiece.

Did you know?

  • More than a million gallons of seawater were shipped by rail from Florida in early 1930 when the aquarium opened its saltwater collection. At the time, it was the only permanent, inland, saltwater display.
  • The aquarium contains more than 32,500 animals.
  • The aquarium has two million annual visitors.


Shedd Aquarium