Shedd Aquarium invests $ 500 million for reimagined experience and education

CHICAGO – The Shedd Aquarium plans to create a redesigned guest experience with a $ 500 million investment that will not only further connect visitors to exhibits, but also help fund the educational programs offered by the Chicago attraction.

Aquarium officials have announced the eight-year centenary pledge, which will coincide with Shedd’s 100th anniversary in 2030. The project will devote half of the funds to creating more interactive exhibits that will create a new user experience for visitors from 2026, officials said.

But the initiative also plans to move towards learning programs while providing funding to aquarium researchers to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, officials said on Monday.

“We know that when people see animals up close, it motivates an emotional and empathetic response that has the power to change attitudes and promote the stewardship of local waters, global oceans and wildlife,” said Bridget Coughlin , President and CEO of Shedd Aquarium. Release. “In an era of increased urbanization and as a national resource for aquatic conservation and education, we have a deep responsibility and obligation to help close the nature gap. “

The project, officials said, aims to ensure a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous future for people and aquatic life, officials said in a press release on Monday.

The redesigned spaces inside the Shedd Aquarium will provide a closer experience for visitors from 2026, once the renovations are complete. (rendering of the Shedd aquarium)

More than half of the $ 500 million investment will go to the Shedd programs and partnerships needed to fulfill the aspirations of the Aquarium’s Centennial Commitment. These programs will not only be on-site, officials said, but will also extend outside the aquarium walls into communities, on the water and in the wild, as part of virtual experiences and d ‘informal learning engagements, and through new and expanded research and science on site and in the field. portfolios focused on restoration, rewilding and rescue.

The remaining investment will focus on necessary physical improvements to the historic building that will modernize the galleries and the aquarium experience, allow greater accessibility, improve animal habitats, and restore architectural features such as opening windows. original offering views over the city skyline and the lake. Michigan, and creating more unobstructed public access to the aquarium’s original outdoor promenade and green spaces, according to the press release.

Shedd officials said funding for the project would come from corporate and community endowments and gifts, 80% of which are now available for on-site catering, the Chicago Tribune reported on Monday.

“The Shedd is one of Illinois’ great gems, and this new vision for the next 100 years reflects Illinois leadership and partnership to protect the environment, educate the next generation, and serve as a cultural asset. unmatched, ”Governor JB Pritzker said. in a statement released on Monday. “The Shedd Centennial Pledge will increase awareness, empathy and importance of natural spaces and aquatic resources, strengthen Illinois’ role as a national leader in climate action, educate and support more ‘students and teachers every year, and will strengthen our statewide tourism investments to attract guests from around the world. “

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