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Shedd Aquarium: The World’s Aquarium Since 1930

March 27, 2014 Attraction No Comments Email Email

Shedd Aquarium was a gift to the people of Chicago from John Graves Shedd, president and chairman of the board of Marshall Field & Company.

More than 83 years later, Shedd is one of the most recognized aquariums in the world, and to date has connected more than 110 million guests to the living world, inspiring them to make a difference. From global research projects that stretch from Asia to Chicago’s own Lake Michigan shoreline, to engaging hands-on learning, exhibits and programs, Shedd is woven into the fabric of the international community.

Civic Leadership

In 2013, Shedd Aquarium was the top-attended cultural organization in Chicago for the seventh year in a row. Known as the “World’s Aquarium,” Shedd welcomed exactly 2,015,130 guests and remains one of the most-visited aquariums in the United States. Under the guidance of President and Chief Executive Officer Ted A. Beattie, a 33-year zoo and aquarium leader and member of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Shedd strengthened its commitment to ocean education, scientific conservation, animal care and aquatic science. Shedd is governed by a 55-member Board of Trustees.Chairman Tyrone C. Fahner is a partner and former chairman at the leading global law firm Mayer Brown LLP and president of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago. He and 149482_num455455_168x168the board of business and community leaders are dedicated to maintaining the aquarium as one of Chicago’s leading education, conservation, research and cultural attractions. As a trusted partner with federal and local governments, Shedd offers counsel and support on a range of issues — conservation initiatives, rescue and rehabilitation efforts, and wildlife and aquatic science expertise. Shedd continually teams with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on rapid-response rescue requests, from sea lions in California to beluga whales in Alaska.

World-Class Animal Care

Shedd is home to the most diverse animal collection in the world, with 32,500 animals representing more than 1,500 species of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and marine mammals. Caring for our animals is the top priority for an extraordinary team of aquarists, trainers, veterinarians, water-quality technicians and facility operators. The world-class care from the field’s top experts, including Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training, who has more than 35 years’ experience as a biologist and animal behaviorist, makes Shedd one of the most recognized aquatic science institutions in the world. As a consultant to zoos and aquariums throughout the world, Ramirez is active in several professional organizations, including the International Marine Animal Trainers Association, and is involved in the creation of a certification process for animal trainers in zoo settings. Shedd is home to one of the most successful beluga breeding programs in the country, and in May 2012, the aquarium marked the first successful birth of a Pacific white-sided dolphin. Shedd is also a nationally recognized leader in rescue and rehabilitation work, and has responded to animals in need for over two decades. In the past year alone, Shedd provided permanent homes for three rescued sea lions, including  Cruz, the first blind marine mammal at the aquarium. The animals in our care create meaningful experiences for millions of guests through engaging exhibits, Extraordinary Experience programs and the popular aquatic show, One World, which highlights the incredible interconnectedness in our living world, from canines to marine mammals to humans.

Community/Donor Support

Shedd was the realization of a civic and philanthropic vision, and a legacy of public support ensures that we remain one of the world’s finest aquariums. Through partnerships with local corporate organizations and the support of individual donors such as the Kovler family, Abbott, The Regenstein Foundation, The Harvey L. Miller Family Foundation, The Grainger Foundation, Northern Trust and the Pritzker family, we provide affordable access, welcoming more than 195,794 students free every year. Together we create opportunities for all to build connections and make a difference for our living world. Enthusiastic support for our more than 15 global research programs, from the Bahamas and the Philippines to the Great Lakes, has allowed experts from Shedd’s Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation and Research to shape connections between the animals in the aquarium and their counterparts in the wild. Shedd’s strong relationships with international consulates, from the Philippines to Australia, produce unique occasions to recognize culture and wildlife. As an example of our international partnerships, in September 2013 Shedd celebrated the 80th anniversary of the arrival of Australian lungfish “Granddad” —now the oldest living fish in any public aquarium — with Australia’s Consul-General Roger Price, to the delight of fish-loving audiences around the world.

The World’s Aquarium

Shedd is located in Chicago, but its work is worldwide. The aquarium studies species and ecosystems reflected in its global collection of animals. The list of projects spans a range of wildlife from tiny juvenile corals to one-ton beluga whales. You’ll find Shedd in its own backyard, monitoring invasive species, and halfway around the world supporting seahorse conservation in Southeast Asia. Shedd’s mission has always been to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the aquatic world. Today this goal has gained urgency as more species decline to endangered status. Shedd is committed to protecting threatened and endangered aquatic species and the ecosystems they depend on. And through the animals in our care, we connect people to the living world.

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