Shedd oceanarium prepares for reopening

February 25, 2009 (CHICAGO) They've been visiting other aquariums since September as the Shedd renovates the popular oceanarium.

Now that work is almost done the aquarium is showing off what visitors will soon be able to enjoy.

The Shedd Aquarium is still under construction but the soon to be completed and much anticipated oceanarium will reopen to the public on Friday, May 22. Visitors will be able to explore the new oceanarium and welcome home their favorite animals.

On Wednesday, the Shedd unveiled renderings of the soon to be completed oceanarium.

"The quality side of this operation has always been a priority when you combine that with the fabulous new exhibits, oceanarium , whales and dolphins really contributes to making it a wonderful experience," said Ted Beattie, Shedd Aquarium.

The construction project costing $50 million includes a new theater, exhibits for kids and for adults, a mammal marine show . And new exhibits like Polar Play Zone, the first hands on permanent exhibit for children or the Grainger Beluga Encounter Habitat.

"Everything that we do here is to do the best for the animals. It is what we live for," said Ken Ramirez, Shedd Aquarium.

"To the wide open oceanarium, to the galleries up in the aquarium building to our new Wild Wreath Exhibit where the sharks are, there is something here for everybody," said Beattie.

Shedd is also upgrading and expanding the food service areas, putting in a new terrace for activities and improving guest amenities.

"One of our big missions is to help people connect to the animals so that they can become more aware of the environment around them," said Ramirez.

Shedd officials say they have not been impacted negatively by the economy. In 86 days visitors will be able to explore the variety of interconnected habitats that make up the Pacific northwest, temperatures rain forests, rivers, tide pools, the rocky ocean coast and open water.

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