I recently re-visited the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago while in town for a meeting. Our group was given a VIP tour of the facility by their staff. It was very interesting for me to return, as I worked at the Shedd from 1985 until 1989. Although I’ve been back for various visits during the ensuing 22 years, I was simply amazed at the changes which have taken place in the past few years. Other than the landmark architecture of the building itself, I had a difficult time identifying ANYTHING that looked the same as when I worked there. They have completely re-done the entire facility and it looked great! This is also borne out by the increase they have seen in their attendance: from around 850,000 people per year when I worked there to well over 2 million visitors a year now.
I saw half a dozen employees that worked there 20+ years ago, and it was fun catching up with what they’ve been doing. Next year, the Shedd will be hosting the Regional Aquatics Workshop (the RAW meeting I discussed in my previous post). Public aquarists from North America and around the world will spend a week there learning more about public aquariums.
If you want to visit a world class aquarium (but one with historic roots and classical architecture), be sure to see the Shedd Aquarium!