Shedd's Oceanarium to Reopen after Overhaul

Aquarium president says you'll like shiny, new facilities

Beluga whale fans, be bummed no more!  The Shedd Aquarium's Oceanarium will reopen this spring after finishing its $50 million renovation. 

There are a lot of great new additions, the aquarium's president told WBBM

The oceanarium -- home to Pacific white-sided dolphins, sea otters and the oh-so popular Beluga whales -- has been closed since last fall.  If you've never been, it really is an eye-opening experience.  The whales are amazingly intelligent and will interact with you from behind their plexiglass-walled tank.

Shedd CEO Ted Beattie said the renovations are going to make the whole experience even better.  

"Beluga Trail winds along a rushing river that pours into a pristine estuary exhibit.  Beautiful birds of prey -- including red-tailed hawks and barred owls -- unite land and sky," the Shedd's Web site says.  If their exhibit is half as good as the description, we're sold!

To top off the relaunched oceanarium, there will be a special whale and dolphin show later this summer touted as "an unforgettable theater experience."  The Shedd is also promising to make the Belugas more accessible, with an encounter habitat that will let small groups of people, guided by trainers, wade into the water to meet the gentle giants.

The Shedd's renovations also include a a kid-centric "Polar Play Zone" for the little ones.

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