Youth Programs FAQ
How do I register?
All programs require pre-registration and pre-payment (if applicable). Under each listing on the website, you will find a link to a registration form. Please fill out this form. Your registration is not guaranteed at this time, but will be confirmed when you receive a phone call taking your payment information or confirming your scholarship for the experience. Payment must be made in full for your registration to be complete.
What ages can participate?
Youth programs are geared for participants of middle-school age (11-14 years old) or currently entering or in grades 6-8.
What is the refund policy?
No refunds will be issued unless Shedd Aquarium cancels the program. Shedd Aquarium reserves the right to cancel the event for any reason. If your event is cancelled, you will be informed via phone as soon as possible. In the event of a cancellation, you will be fully refunded within 30 days. Your refund method will be based on your original method of payment.
How does drop-off work in the morning/evening?
Drop-off will take place at Shedd for any of your youth experiences. It is your responsibility to bring your child to the aquarium for the start of the program. The exact drop-off location will be provided in your confirmation information that you will receive after you are officially registered for the experience. Please note that you will need to check-in with an aquarium staff member in person to drop-off your child. Find more information about how to get to Shedd Aquarium.
How does pick-up work in the afternoon/evening?
It is your responsibility to pick your child up at the end of the day. The exact pick-up location will be provided in your confirmation information that you will receive after you are officially registered for the experience. The aquarium does not offer extended care so please plan accordingly; your promptness is greatly appreciated.
What staff will be with my child during the day?
Education and/or other aquarium staff will be present for each program. We may also use aquarium volunteers to assist with the program. We carefully consider the needs of the learners when planning how many staff or volunteers will be with your youth during their Shedd experience.
What if my child has never been to a program like this before?
Prior participation in Shedd programs is not required. We welcome all participants with the same care, consideration, and enthusiasm. Parents/Guardians do not attend programs with their child. If there are things we can do to help make your child feel more comfortable please let us know ahead of time. We want all participants to have a fun learning experience.
What if the weather is bad?
These programs run rain or shine, and portions will take place outdoors. Participants should come dressed for the weather. If the weather conditions are not safe, we will make accommodations to supplement other activities.
Do I have to buy any special gear or equipment?
No, any specialized gear or equipment will be provided to use during the program (this does not include basic clothing such as shoes, jacket, hat, etc.)
What should my child bring each day?
In general, participants should dress for the weather. Bringing a small backpack may be useful to store clothing not being worn. A reusable water bottle is a good idea as well. Some programs may require participants to bring their own lunch (peanut free lunches are preferable). Specific details for each experience will be emailed prior to the start of each program.
What should my child leave at home?
Please leave electronics, jewelry, and expensive clothing at home. Some of the programs involve being active outside and these things might get lost, broken, or dirty.
What procedures are in place to ensure my child’s safety?
Education and/or other aquarium staff will be present for each program. We may also use aquarium volunteers to assist with the program. We carefully consider the needs and safety of the learners when planning how many staff or volunteers will be with your youth during their Shedd experience. The aquarium also has security officers on-site and staff trained in first aid, CPR, and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). For off-site programs we bring a first aid kit as well as staff that have been trained in first aid and CPR.
What should my child wear?
Please dress your child for the weather. Off-site programs will involve significant time outdoors. On-site programs may also go outdoors for parts of the program. Dressing in season-appropriate layers is a good option. You may also consider sunscreen and bug spray depending on the season and program location.
Are scholarships available?
Most programs offer scholarship opportunities. They will require you to fill out a needs-based scholarship application located on the website within program listings. Submitting an application does not guarantee you will receive scholarship funds.
Will my child get to interact with animals or go behind the scenes at Shedd?
We strive to connect our participants to the animals at Shedd Aquarium. We carefully consider the use of animals, behind the scenes tour and other special experiences within Shedd experiences. When appropriate, we incorporate these activities for your child.