Thursday, June 04, 2015

Aquarium Fantasea: My visit to the Shedd

Click here to shop this necklace
When the Beluga Whale Exhibit opened at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, my Uncle Norman suggested we visit it together. What began as an outing to view baby whales became a day of other sightings just as wonderful and absorbing.  

We crawled along in summer traffic up Lake Shore Drive, and arrived only to creep down every aisle of the blazing hot parking lot hunting for a space. At the farthest end, where pavement became gravel, we finally nosed in under a tree. Even from our remote location, we noticed a huge crowd of people in the distance, too many for just the exhibit.

The starfish--traditional symbol 

of healing and regeneration. 

Dimensional and textured like
 the curly creature you’d find
 in a tide pool early in the morning,
Suspended from a hand-woven 

To get a better look, I stepped up on a cement enclosure surrounding the tree, thereby disrupting dozens of bees. Sprinting away, I was followed closely by my nimble septuagenarian uncle. We caught up to another visitor and mentioned our curiosity about the crowd. He matter-of-factly replied that it was Vice President Al Gore with an entourage of G-men and bodyguards.  It was going to be a whale of a wait to get in, so we slowed our walk, stopping in patches of bee-free shade along the path.  
1930s massive rotunda clock

We finally reached the slow surging crowd but hung to the side while it thinned down. My uncle hadn’t been to the aquarium for many years and I only remembered it from childhood. As we waited, we found ourselves awestruck by the architecture and design of the building. Once inside, our fascination grew, more for the decorative bronze, marble and terra cotta details of the building than for the whale show. This is what we saw… (read Part 2 in next week’s installment)

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