shedd aquarium

Shedd Aquarium Announces Largest Renovation Project in 19 Years

The makeover includes an overhaul of galleries, the creation of a new Science Hub and transformation of outdoor spaces

Shedd Aquarium in collaboration with Thinc/Valerio Dewalt Train

Chicago's Shedd Aquarium has its eyes set on the future.

The institution announced the "Centennial Commitment" on Monday - a massive $500 million project to renovate the aquarium, add educational and experimental programs and deepen community partnerships over the course of eight years, among other initiatives.

A four-phase construction project is expected to begin in late 2022 and slated to be complete in 2026, Shedd officials said in a news release, explaining new galleries and experiences will open on a rolling basis each year.

The makeover will provide "a modernized experience" by making galleries more accessible, interactive, immersive and science-rich. Construction plans include the Learning Commons - "a technologically-advanced, flexible space" that will provide more educational opportunities for children and expand the existing classroom space.

Shedd Aquarium in collaboration with Valerio Dewalt Train/Visualized Concepts

New pathways will be created throughout the museum to reduce the number of transitions and make navigation easier for guests with strollers, wheelchairs and mobility needs, according to Shedd officials.

Additional improvements include merging five scientific laboratories into a central state-of-the-art Science Hub to provide "greater proximity" of work to create cutting-edge science in the wild and within the aquarium, as well as the "promotion of intellectual synergies."

Outside the building, transformed spaces will offer visitors everything from "a celebration of natural splendor to a comfortable place where guests can view the profound meeting of land and water."

The aquarium expects the transformation to create more than 2,000 jobs across Illinois and lead to more than $340 million in economic activity during the construction period.

Shedd Aquarium in collaboration with Thinc/Visualized Concepts/Valerio Dewalt Train

The modernization effort will serve as the Shedd Aquarium's largest capital project since the expansion of the Abbott Oceanarium in 1991, the Amazon Rising exhibit in 2001 and the Wild Reef exhibit in 2003.

The overall plan, including building renovations, new educational programs and other efforts, is scheduled to be complete by 2030 for the celebration of the Shedd Aquarium's 100th anniversary.

Contact Us