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Jellies And Other Underwater Delights

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 15, 2011 4:20PM

2011_06_shedd_jellies.jpg It's been a while since we were last there so we took a field trip to the Shedd Aquarium on Monday. We wanted to see what kind of crowds would come out for the kick-off of the museum's community discount week and the offer of free general admission to all comers, and we finally wanted to check out the much buzzed about Jellies special exhibit.

First off, if you're going for discount week, ignore the free general admission and buy tickets to the additional exhibits ahead of time. The line is insanely long for general admission. And if you were thinking of stopping by after work for a quick look-see, forget it. Seriously, buy tickets. It's worth it.

We started off our visit taking in the aquatic show featuring the beluga whales, surefire Shedd crowd-pleasers. It's both cute and educational -- even for adults with no kids (though we might have been the only people fitting that description in the room) -- so we recommend checking it out. Then head downstairs and check out the underwater view of the whales afterward. They often get up close and personal by sliding right in front of the underwater glass wall, giving a true sense of their actual size and grace.

And the it was time for Jellies, an exhibit promised to be chock full of jellyfish of all sizes, sure to blow our mind with their beauty. The cast of featured species has been rotating throughout the duration of the exhibit, and maybe we just encountered a less exciting selection, but we admit to being underwhelmed. We were hoping for billowing, blossoming specimens and were largely met by numerous glass tanks containing a rather visually homogenous collection. Perhaps we experienced the exhibit at a bad time, but given all the excitement we were hoping for more. And while we were hoping for more variety we did enjoy the exhibit and could be persuaded to check back in with the Jellies after the next rotation of featured species occurs.

We spent the remainder of our time aimlessly wandering the Shedd, and it was then we realized that was probably the best way to experience the aquarium as a whole. We understand special exhibits often rope in the crowds, but the true beauty is in the diversity of offerings throughout the entire aquarium, and the ease in which you can get lost in corners of the earth you've never previously considered or explored. So, if you haven't been to the Shedd in a while (or ever) it's worth checking back in with its residents; just make sure you buy a ticket ahead of time.