Shedd Aquarium Could Miss Out on Millions of Dollars Due to NASCAR Street Race This Summer

NBC Universal, Inc.

An official for Shedd Aquarium said the famed Chicago landmark could miss out on up to $3 million during the NASCAR Street Race on this summer's Independence Day weekend.

In what is the aquarium's busiest time of the year, when up to 10,000 guests visit each day, access to Museum Campus and Northerly Island is expected to be impacted by closures related to the NASCAR Street Race.

Meghan Curran, the Chief Marketing and Experience Officer for the aquarium, said that nearby street closures typically have a significant impact on visitor traffic, with the closure of Columbus Drive for Lollapalooza leading to a 30 percent reduction in typical summer weekend visitors each year.

As the setup and take-down process of the NASCAR Street Race is expected to take approximately 10 days, the aquarium is forecasting for a significant drop in visitors on what could be the busiest weekend of the year.

For the first time, NASCAR will bring stock car racing to the streets of Chicago in 2023, setting up a 2.2-mile circuit that will take drivers past some of the most iconic landmarks in the city. Shedd Aquarium, however, is estimated to lose “two to three million dollars” due to the road closures.

In addition to impacting business on a crowded weekend, the aquarium is also concerned over the potential impact the closures could have on summer camp programs.

While Curran notes that guests often plan their visits close to the date they go, the presence of the race and widespread closures near the lakefront downtown are expected to reduce revenue on the tourist-heavy weekend.

Though NASCAR said that logistical plans for the race are still being finalized, the president of the Chicago Street Race said that visitors will still have access to the museums, with more information to be released in the coming weeks.

NASCAR is slated to meet with the Grant Park Advisory Council next month, where officials will present details and their estimated footprint of the summer event.

Contact Us