(MCT) — Chicago’s iconic Shedd Aquarium was the most-visited among all aquariums in the United States in 2012, with nearly 2.17 million guests.
The Shedd welcomed nearly 53,000 Chicago Public School students for field trips, and 114,370 students throughout Illinois were admitted for free throughout the year.
“Shedd is a smart institution with a rich history in the City of Chicago. The aquarium will continue to further its mission through innovation and excellence, evolving to enhance every visitor’s experience,” Tyrone C. Fahner, chairman of the Shedd’s board of trustees, said in a news release.
Comparisons of aquarium attendance do not include various locations of Sea World, which are for-profit and considered marine parks rather than aquariums, a Shedd spokesman said.
The downtown aquarium at 1200 South Lake Shore Drive is home to more than 1,500 species, making it the most diverse collection in the world.
In 2012, the Shedd celebrated its first-ever birth of a Pacific white-sided dolphin calf and welcomed its sixth beluga whale calf born at the aquarium.
As one of 11 museums that make up Chicago Park District’s “Museums In the Park,” the aquarium accounted for one-third of the group’s overall attendance last year.