Shedd Aquarium To Offer New Sea Otter Interactive Experience

Mike Krauser
February 26, 2019 - 1:00 pm

©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Shedd Aquarium is adding perhaps it's cutest residents to a program that allows visitors an up-close interactive experience. 

The Shedd Aquarium announced Tuesday that it is launching the city's first-ever sea otter encounter, a part of its program Extraordinary Experience, giving guests an up-closer, interactive experience with the animal. 

The one-hour Sea Otter Extraordinary Experience allows guests to prepare and feed the sea otters, as well as observe and photograph them up close. You can even touch them, if the animals allow it.

“Guests have never been able to come face to face with the otters like this before at Shedd, and we cannot wait for them to see what we see every day,” said Steve Aibel, senior director of marine mammals at Shedd Aquarium, in a statement. “While they may come in because of the gregarious and engaging nature of the animals, we hope that connecting our otters up close and seeing them look back at you will have a real impact on folks. We want guests to walk away with a greater love for aquatic animals and a real understanding on why they need our help.”

©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Three of the four otters at the Shedd were rescued from the wild. Participants will be able to hear about the animal's story from animal care staff, including why the otters were abandoned as pups and how often it happens. 

One of these otters is Luna, which was first introduced to Chicago in 2014. Luna had been found alone on a beach in Northern California. She weighed only two pounds. Today she now weighs 40 pounds and is arguably, just as cute as when she was first rescued. 

©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Sea Otter Extraordinary Experience launches March 3. It will start at a weekend offer and become more frequent in April. Tickets cost $109.95 for adults, $94.95 for children ages 6-11, and $64.95 for members. The ticket prince includes the sea otter encounter, plus express entry and admission to the full aquarium and a ticket to the next available aquatic presentation. Children must be 6 years of age or older and must be accompanied by a paying adult. Parents/guardians must sign waivers for participants who are 17 or younger.

Sea otter encounters and other Extraordinary Experiences can be booked at www.sheddaquarium.org/extraordinary. The aquarium is also working on bringing back several other Extraordinary Experiences this year.