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As Shedd Aquarium approaches its 100th anniversary in 2030, the organization is embarking on a substantial $500 million, eight-year project, which includes updates to its historic galleries with new animal exhibits and other improvements to the guest experience, as well as additional programs.

Working in a joint-venture partnership, Pepper | Brown & Momen Inc. has begun preconstruction work on the multi-year project. The aquarium will remain open throughout the project’s duration. Planned features include modernizing the original historic galleries, enhancing all animal habitats, building a new Learning Commons, providing a new state-of-the-art Science Hub to study microbial ecology conservation science, water quality and chemistry, genome studies and pathology, restoring the original walls of windows that at one time provided unobstructed views of the Chicago skyline and the lake, improved circulation and revamping the public spaces and general amenities.

This effort will transform much of Shedd’s mission, both onsite and across the Chicago area — on the water, in nature and in field-based research. It will include taking a deeper dive into serving Chicago school students with enhanced programming and outreach, creating a modern and revitalized aquarium experience through interactive exhibits, and increasing Shedd’s commitment to respond to the needs of wildlife crises across the globe through research and science.

Pepper was also involved in one of Shedd Aquarium's most significant previous transformations when the Oceanarium was constructed in 1991. A significant part of the current renovation involves creating a new tunnel that will connect the aquarium to the Oceanarium. The tunnel will culminate in a glass-enclosed, 190,000-gallon, 35-foot-long habitat that will surround patrons as they walk “under the sea.”

For additional information about the project, please use the Shedd Aquarium links provided below:

Owner's Representative
Valerio Dewalt Train
Exhibit Design
Thinc Design
Project Location
Chicago, Illinois