Education

Field Trip Program FAQ

When is the best time of year to visit?
What kinds of opportunities does Shedd offer for school groups?
Will Shedd come to my school to teach a program?
How do I plan my field trip?
What is the process for scheduling a field trip or an educational program?
How many chaperones are required for school groups?
What happens after I register?
Can I visit Shedd before my field trip so I can prepare my students for their visit?

How long should I plan to be at the aquarium for my field trip?
Where should we go when we arrive at Shedd Aquarium?

Where should buses park while they wait?
What are the lunch options?


When is the best time of year to visit?
Many school groups visit during April and May, and as a result, space is usually limited. Consider bringing your class between September and March, when exhibits and programs tend to be less crowded.

What kinds of opportunities does Shedd offer for school groups?
Shedd always has something going on, whether it’s activities in our exhibit areas or chats with our staff. Take a look at our Ten Fun Find maps or our educator resources for ideas on how to focus your self-guided trip. Add depth to your students’ field trip by registering for our interactive standards-based learning labs. Classes and labs for grades K–5 run 50 minutes and are offered Thursday and Friday; programs for grades 6–12 run 90 minutes and are offered Monday and Wednesday. All programs are held in our Aquatic Education Center (AEC). 

Will Shedd come to my school to teach a program?
Yes, via a digital connection! Enjoy a unique Shedd Aquarium "Live Behind-the-Scenes" experience this school year. Themed experiences include interactions with our Animal Health or Marine Mammals teams. Learn more about Shedd programs at your school.

How do I plan my field trip?
View our field trip tips to provide your students with the best field trip possible.   

What is the process for scheduling a field trip or an educational program?
Registration for the school year is open. Request a reservation online or download a printable form (PDF) and fax it to us. A representative from our guest services department will contact you to confirm your requested dates.

How many chaperones are required for school groups?
One chaperone is required for every 10 students, although one for every five is recommended. Teachers are counted in the chaperone-to-student ratio. Please note: There is an individual rate for chaperones exceeding a 1:5 ratio.

What happens after I register?
The group sales office at Shedd will try to schedule your trip and any learning labs for your first chosen date. If that date is not available, they will move to your second or third choice. You will receive a confirmation letter informing you of the field trip and any program dates, start times and fees. If you have registered for a learning lab, an education staff member will also contact you to confirm these details.

Can I visit Shedd prior to my field trip so I can prepare my students for their visit?
Yes! We encourage teachers to visit before bringing their students. Educators from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin can visit Shedd free by registering for your pass online. Please note: Teachers are admitted free, but their guests will be required to pay full admission price.

How long should I plan to be at the aquarium for my field trip?
There is a lot to see and do at Shedd so we strongly suggest that you make a schedule for yourself and your chaperones. If you are planning to see the main galleries, allow 45 to 60 minutes. If you would like to view the Wild Reef, plan 45 minutes for viewing. If you would like to view the Abbott Oceanarium, allow 45 minutes plus an additional 30 minutes if you are scheduled for the aquatic animal show. Learning labs for grades K–5 run 50 minutes. Learning labs for grades 6–12 run 90 minutes. You may also want to allow 30 minutes for lunch. Map your route.

Where should we go when we arrive at Shedd Aquarium?
All school groups should arrive in the bus drop-off area on the south side of the aquarium. Buses now have direct access from Museum Campus Drive. A guest services staff member will greet you with a brief orientation for your group before you head to the main aquarium entrance to start your visit. A map is included with your reservation confirmation, but you can also view a map online. See our traffic alerts for more information about any delays on the day of your visit. 

Where should buses park while they wait?
Buses may be able to park on a first-come basis in the Adler Planetarium parking lot for a fee. There is also limited free parking for buses west of the aquarium on Canal Street south of Roosevelt Road. We suggest making contingency plans in case parking is not available on the Museum Campus. Visit Standard Parking or call 312-235-7701 for more information and prices.

What are the lunch options?
Students taking programs with us are guaranteed a lunch space. You must indicate on your reservation form if you want a lunch space. If you are on a self-guided field trip and are brown-bagging it, lunchroom reservations are on a first-come/first-served basis.  

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