The John G. Shedd Aquarium is an indoor public aquarium in Chicago, Illinois that opened on May 30, 1930. The aquarium contains over 25,000 fish, and was for some time the largest indoor aquarium in the world with 5,000,000 US gallons (19,000,000 l) of water. The Shedd Aquarium was the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection. It is surrounded by Museum Campus Chicago, which it shares with the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. The aquarium has 2 million annual visitors; it was the most visited aquarium in the U.S. in 2005, and in 2007, it surpassed the Field Museum as the most popular cultural attraction in Chicago. It contains 1,500 species including fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and insects.
The Shedd Aquarium was the gift of retail leader John G. Shedd, a protégé of Marshall Field (benefactor of the adjacent Field Museum), to the city of Chicago. Although Shedd only lived long enough to see the architect's first drawings for the aquarium, his widow, Mary R. Shedd, cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony.
Groundbreaking took place on November 2, 1927, and construction was completed on December 19, 1929; the first exhibits were opened on May 30, 1930. As one of the first inland aquariums in the world, the Shedd had to rely on a custom-made railroad car, the Nautilus, for the transport of fish and seawater. The Nautilus lasted until 1959.
In 1930, 20 railroad tank cars made eight round trips between Key West and Chicago to transport 1,000,000 US gallons (3,800,000 l) of seawater for the Shedd’s saltwater exhibits.
In 1933, Chicago hosted its second world's fair, the Century of Progress. The Aquarium was located immediately north of the fairgrounds, and the museum gained exposure to a large international crowd.
In 1971, the Shedd Aquarium added one of its most popular exhibits, a 90,000-US-gallon (340,000 l) exhibit reproducing a Caribbean coral reef. That same year, the aquarium acquired its first research vessel, a 75-foot (23 m) boat for exploring the Caribbean, manned by a crew to conduct field research and collect specimens. In 1985, this boat was replaced with the aquarium's current vessel, the Coral Reef II.
John Shedd's grandson, John Shedd Reed, who had served as president of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad from 1967 to 1986, was president of the aquarium's board from 1984 until 1994, and was a life trustee until his death in 2008. Ted A. Beattie has been the president and CEO of the aquarium since 1994.
In 1991, the Shedd Aquarium opened its Oceanarium, a large addition to the aquarium that features many marine mammals, including Pacific white-sided dolphins and belugas. The main 3,000,000-US-gallon (11,000,000 l) tank made it the largest indoor marine mammal facility in the world.
The John G. Shedd Aquarium as seen from the Sears Tower Skydeck.
Photo taken September 25, 2009.
New photos posted on most Mondays through Thursdays.
All photos are copyrighted and may not be reproduced or distributed without my expressed, written consent.