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Special Holiday Events at the Shedd Aquarium

Enjoy These Family-friendly Events at One of Chicago's Landmarks


Beginning Sunday, December 16, 2012, through Sunday, December 23, 2012, Chicago's Shedd Aquarium transforms into a wintery, watery wonderland to celebrate a of week of holiday cheer. Discover what creatures are stirring as the aquarium stays open late during a special holiday schedule with the return of Holiday Fantasea, presented by Toyota and more. Special holiday hours include December 16, 2012 - December 23, 2012 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and December 26, 2012 – December 30, 2012 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

One event that will last throughout the holiday season. It is the Holiday Fantasea - a festive favorite, Shedd’s themed, multi-species aquatic show, A Holiday Fantasea, returns featuring your favorite marine mammals. Set among the twinkling lights in the Abbott Oceanarium, Pacific white-sided dolphins leap, beluga whales breach and sea lions and penguins saunter, showcasing their natural behaviors set to a celebratory soundtrack from around the world -- and Santa makes a special appearance. Begins November 23, 2012 through January 5, 2013.

JINGLE JAZZIN’ EVENINGS: Jingle all the way down to Shedd after the work day for an evening experience to explore vibrant, eye-opening exhibits and tap your toes to holiday tunes. Live music will be provided throughout the aquarium each evening with festive cocktails, food, and holiday treats, also available for purchase. Admission includes access to the Original Galleries, Wild Reef, Abbott Oceanarium, and the special exhibit Jellies. Hours are 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., December 16 – December 23, 2012. Tickets are $20.

SHEDD HOLIDAY BREAKFASTS: Shedd Holiday Breakfasts are back, Saturdays starting November 24, 2012. Treat the family to a special holiday experience journeying through the snowcapped scene during a private viewing of the 15-minute The Polar Express 4-D Experience, followed by a drawing for special prizes. The holiday fun continues during a visit with Santa. Snap a photo with him and receive a gift. Explore Shedd’s Polar Play Zone and finish your special day with reserved seats to A Holiday Fantasea. Saturdays (Nov. 24, Dec. 8, 15, 22). Admission is $44.95 for adults, $34.95 for children (ages 3-11). All reservations must be requested and completed a minimum of two business days prior to the date of the event. Includes breakfast, 4-D feature, photo and reserved seating. (Also worth reading: November 2012 Events and December 2012 Events)

SUSTAINABLE SEASONAL SPLENDOR: Shedd’s popular Wreath-Cycled Classroom Challenge returns to the aquarium, inviting Chicago-area classrooms to reduce, reuse and wreath-cycle. Students from kindergarten to high school levels are charged with decking the halls of the aquarium with sustainable decorations made of 100 percent recycled materials. On December 15, 2012, students will gather at Shedd to see who will be awarded the top prizes.

ICE AGE: A MAMMOTH CHRISTMAS 4-D FEATURE: Chill out from the holiday rush with a sensationally cool experience – Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas. Powered by ComEd, the feature is shown in Shedd’s Phelps Auditorium, which houses the only 4-D experience in Chicago. Guests experience an exhilarating array of synchronized physical effects, such as snow, wind, scents and more – all from the comfort of the specially designed 4-D experience seat. $6 with Shedd Pass ($3 for members) at the door.

POLAR EXPRESS 4-D FEATURE: The Polar Express feature rolls into the 4-D theater as a special holiday treat. The seasonal feature will engage all of the senses through effects, such as air bursts, spouts of water, leg ticklers, seat buzzers and much more. The 4-D Experience is powered by ComEd. $6 with Shedd Pass ($3 for members) at the door. (Also worth reading: Chicago's Christkindlmarket 2012)

More Shedd Aquarium holiday events will be updated as we get them. You can also call the Shedd at 312-939-2438 or visit the Shedd Aquarium Web site. It is highly recommended to consult the Shedd's Web site or to call the Shedd to inquire about the above events and tickets and prizes. Some events could sell out.

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