Shedd Aquarium Reception Space

Shedd Aquarium is the “must-sea” destination in Chicago, with 32,000 animals from the rivers, lakes, oceans and wetlands of the world.

From the vantage point of the expansive Abbott Oceanarium, guests can enjoy leaping dolphins or chirping beluga whales against a sweeping view of Lake Michigan. Your event can also have access to two outdoor two lakeside terraces featuring Chicago’s famed skyline for a backdrop.

Sodexo at Shedd Aquarium can create incomparable events for corporate, social and special events, large or small.

Shedd’s original marble and terra cotta Beaux-Arts architecture creates a spacious, gracious setting for elegant dinners fit for King Neptune, plus a grand area for dancing afterward. The 90,000-gallon Caribbean Reef habitat, teeming with rainbow-hued schooling fishes, graceful rays and a stunning sea turtle, becomes a magical aquamarine centerpiece. 

If you are looking for the quintessential Chicago experience, we cover all bases: amazing animals, sweeping views of the city and lake, classic Chicago architecture and gourmet dining―in one place.

  • Total Capacity of Venue

    Shedd Aquarium has had events for intimate groups of as few as 35 guests to formal dinners for 1,200. With our unique footprint, we make sure your guests have access to see all the aquarium and what we have to offer.

  • Private or Semi Private Space Available

    The only private or semi-private spaces we have available are
    1. Daytime event spaces
    - events taking place between 8 a.m. and the aquarium’s closing time, typically 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.
    - based on seasonal availability

    2. Wednesday evenings in the summer during Jazzin’ at the Shedd
    - Every Wednesday, June 20 to Oct. 10, 2018

    Daytime private/semi-private events:

    Based on seasonal availability, our Soundings event space or tented North Terrace may be used for brunches, lunches, or afternoon receptions between 8 a.m. and the aquarium’s closing time, typically 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., depending on the time of year).

    Our Soundings Boardroom is also available for smaller daytime meetings and events.

    Wednesday evenings (June 20 – Oct. 10) private/semi-private events:

    We also host private and semi-private events on Wednesday evenings in the summer during our Jazzin’ at the Shedd series! Jazzin’ is like a Shedd-Aquarium-after-dark, where we transform the aquarium into a jazz reception with live jazz bands, food stations and bars.

    Every Wednesday, June 20to Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, Jazzin’ event packages available from 5-10 p.m.

    Every Wednesday, Sept. 5 to Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, Jazzin’ event packages available from 5-9 p.m.

  • Unique views

    We have the best view of the iconic Chicago skyline along with sweeping views of Lake Michigan from our Abbott Oceanarium and two lakeside terraces.


  • Our most Important Target Market is?

    Corporations, locally and globally, planning evening receptions, galas, dinners and some daytime smaller events.

  • We are most proud of our ability to?

    Whether you are entertaining, working, connecting with clients, or creating networking opportunities for your attendees, Sodexo at Shedd Aquarium’s professional culinary and events team will arrange everything from in-house custom catering to décor for your event. We create a total sensory experience that your guests will share images of with friends and colleagues and on social media! And they’ll remember and talk about their evening at Shedd long after the event.

  • We are famous with customers for our ability to?

    Shedd Aquarium can host events in a variety of styles and sizes. We work with our clients to make each event personal and one of a kind. We can help you plan a corporate cocktail reception and plated dinner, strolling event, award presentation, gala, meeting, wedding and reception, not-for-profit event and so much more. We’ve arranged intimate gatherings for 35 up to large events for 1,200. And with our unique footprint, we make sure your guests have access to see all of the aquarium and what we have to offer.

    Our clients’ requests can range from simple to classic to unique. We’ve fulfilled Chicago-themed requests to have guests experience the city through our views of the skyline and with strolling food stations that encompass the flavors of Chicago’s ethnic neighborhoods. For clients looking for an element of fun associated with the aquarium, we can include features like a doughnut dunk-and-drizzle station, passed “milk-and-cookie” shooters, or a dessert served with a custom aquatic animal-shaped cookie.

    We want all our clients and their guests to have an unforgettable experience. Ask yourself, why not cocktails and hors d'oeuvres with dolphins and whales? An elegant dinner party in a rotunda fit for Neptune, with a Caribbean reef for a centerpiece? Or dining among the fishes of Waters of the World? Think beyond the traditional space, and dive into planning your next event at Shedd Aquarium!

  • Unlike our competition, we offer customers?

    Sodexo at Shedd Aquarium supports Shedd’s sustainable seafood program. Sustainable means choosing seafood species that are abundant and caught or raised in environmentally responsible ways. Your seafood choices can have a big impact on the health of our waters worldwide, and we’re here to help you help our planet. The resulting amazing creations from our executive chef are another part of the superlative Shedd experience.

    Shedd Aquarium is also the only venue in Chicago that can offer a fish-feeding dive presentation―in our shimmering 90,000-gallon Caribbean Reef habitat. Your guests can hear one of our expert divers talk about the reef animals from underwater in the exhibit, making you feel like you are part of the action. The Caribbean Reef diver can also wear a T-shirt with your company or organization logo, enhancing the personalized experience for your attendees!

  • We would like our customers to tell their friends that we provide the best?

    Sodexo at Shedd Aquarium provides the most engaging event experience in Chicago, from encounters with 32,000 amazing aquatic animals to the most breathtaking view of the city skyline. Events at Shedd Aquarium go beyond what is listed on the menu. We create a connection to the collection while giving your guests an unforgettable dining, social, or business experience. Events produced by Sodexo at Shedd Aquarium can engage and inspire, entertain and inform while giving your attendees a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the great city of Chicago.

  • Our company enhances customer lives by offering?

    Our Sodexo team at Shedd Aquarium provides a complete event experience from your initial inquiry through when the last guest leaves the event. We are event-planning professionals with a combined 50+ years of diverse event sales and production experience in the event industry. This includes planning events for the City of Chicago’s prestigious clientele, international clientele and some of the top destination-management companies and their clients.

  • Recent Clients

    1. Pharmaceutical
    2. Financial
    3. Transportation
    4. Legal
    5. Consulting Firms

  • Awards/Achievements

    • 2013 PCMA’s Convene Magazine, Best Off-Site Venue
    • 2013 PRSA, Award of Excellence
    • 2013 Trip Advisor, Certificate of Excellence
    • 2012, 2013 & 2014 Publicity Club of Chicago, Golden Trumpet Awards
    • 2013 & 2014 Clear Channel, Chicago Community Certificate of Appreciation for Corporate Partner
    • 2015 Conference of Travel and Tours, Best Website Design
    • 2015 Conference of Travel and Tours, Best Social Media
    • 2017 Catersource ACE nominee, Best Event, East Region, Above $2 Million

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Shedd Aquarium Event Spaces

1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, ILLINOIS 60605 

Neighborhood: Downtown Chicago's Lake Front
Capacity: Shedd Aquarium has had events for intimate groups of as few as 35 guests to formal dinners for 1,200. With our unique footprint, we make sure your guests have access to see all the aquarium and what we have to offer.


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