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Shedd Aquarium

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Author Topic: Shedd Aquarium  (Read 661 times)
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« on: July 24, 2007, 10:03:01 pm »

Shedd Aquarium was the gift of retail leader John G. Shedd, a protégé of Marshall Field (benefactor of the adjacent Field Museum), to the city of Chicago. Construction was completed on 19 December 1929; the first exhibits were opened in 1930. As one of the first inland aquariums in the world, Shedd had to rely on a custom-made railroad car, the Nautillus, for the transport of fish and seawater. The Nautillus lasted until 1959.

In 1933, Chicago hosted its second world's fair, the Century of Progress. The Aquarium was located immediately north of the fairgrounds, therefore the museum gained exposure to a large international crowd. Among the collections added during the fair, a Queensland Lungfish known as "Granddad" is still alive and considered the oldest fish in a public aquarium.

In 1971, Shedd Aquarium added one of its most popular exhibits, a massive 90,000-gallon exhibit reproducing a Caribbean coral reef. That same year, the aquarium acquired its first research vessel, a 75-foot (23 meter) boat for exploring the Caribbean, manned by a crew to conduct field research collect specimens. In 1985, this boat was replaced with the aquarium's current vessel, the Coral Reef II.

In 1991, Shedd opened its Oceanarium, a large addition to the aquarium that features many marine mammals, including Pacific white-sided dolphins and belugas. In 2006, the Beluga whale Puiji gave birth to a female calf, later named Bella. Since 1999, three beluga whales have been born at Shedd Aquarium. The aquarium also boasts a number of sea otters; the core of this collection was a group rescued from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.

The Shedd's newest permanent exhibit is Wild Reef, which opened in 2003. The 750-thousand gallon Wild Reef exhibit recreates a Philippine coral reef and is based on the Apo Island Marine Reserve, complete with living coral, multiple species of fish and rays, and a collection of sharks. The main draw of this attraction is a 400,000 gallon (1.5 million liter) shark exhibit with twelve foot (3.6 meter) high curved windows, allowing visitors a "divers-eye view".
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