By Paul Tooher
The nearest ocean may be more than 1,000 miles away, but Chicagoland still boasts one of the best aquariums in the United States. That’s according to U.S. City Traveler, an online travel guide that ranked the top 25 aquariums in the nation.
According to the site, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium houses more than 8,000 marine animals and was the first inland aquarium to display a permanent collection of saltwater fishes.
U.S. City Traveler cites a review by Forbes Traveler that found that “Shedd captures the magic of aquatic life with exhibits that showcase everything from Amazonian anacondas and piranhas to a Caribbean Reef exhibit teeming with moray eels and green sea turtles.”
Forbes Traveler states that the Aquarium also introduces students to the underwater habitats of Lake Michigan through a high school lake ecology program.
Shedd was rated the second-best aquarium in the nation, behind the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, the largest aquarium in the world with 550,000 square feet of exhibits and over 100,000 animals. It is also home to the only whale sharks outside of Asia.
Other aquariums making U.S. City Traveler’s list included the National Aquarium, Baltimore; Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Calif.; the New England Aquarium, Boston; Ripley’s Aquarium on Myrtle Beach, in South Carolina; Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco; Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, Calif.; Newport Aquarium, Cincinnati; Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, in the Big Easy; Downtown Aquarium, Houston; Florida Aquarium, Tampa, Fla.; Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas; Miami Seaquarium, Miami; and the Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Also, the Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi, Texas; Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas; Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, Ore.; Ripley’s Aquarium, Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Alaska Sealife Center, Seward, Alaska; South Carolina Aquarium, in Charleston; New York Aquarium, New York City; Downtown Aquarium, Denver; Adventure Aquarium, Camden, N.J.; and the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu.