FOUR OPPORTUNITIES TO TRAVEL THE WORLD WITH ANIMAL EXPERTS IN 2019.

From the tropics of the Indian Ocean to the cold waters of the Arctic, Shedd Aquarium is set to host new eco-travel opportunities throughout 2019, allowing adventure-seekers to see the world, up close and incredible, alongside the aquarium’s animal experts. Through the “Shedd Adventures” travel program, participants can travel to The Bahamas, Canada, and South Africa, where they will come face-to-fin with aquatic animals like beluga whales, penguins, and sharks through activities such as boating, snorkeling, hiking, and more.

“If you’re going to travel the world to see the beautiful ecosystems and animals that live in them, what better way to travel than with animal experts and fellow wildlife enthusiasts,” said Shannon Fuller, assistant director of conservation travel at Shedd Aquarium. “Each trip is specially catered to travelers with an affinity for wildlife and is inspired by the animals at Shedd that spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world every day.”

One new addition to the lineup of expeditions is a trip to The Bahamas alongside Dr. Steve Kessel, director of marine research at Shedd Aquarium, to contribute to Shedd’s ongoing research of sharks and rays aboard the aquarium’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II. Another is an adventure north to Churchill, Manitoba with Steve Aibel, senior director of marine mammals at Shedd Aquarium, to witness beluga whales filling the Hudson Bay and polar bears strutting across icy land.

The custom-designed trips allow for single-travelers, couples and groups. Some experiences allow participants to add-on extra experiences to make the most of their time abroad.

2019 ADVENTURES WITH ANIMAL EXPERTS

Study Sharks with Shedd’s Research Team in The Bahamas

Join a first-of-its-kind citizen science opportunity for a shark research expedition in The Bahamas aboard Shedd’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II. Sharks play a vital role in top-down maintenance of ocean ecosystems around the world. Globally, many shark species are threatened with extinction, largely due to overfishing (both targeted and as bycatch) and other unsustainable practices. Led by Steven Kessel, Ph.D., Shedd’s director of marine research, the aquarium is conducting ongoing research to assess regional abundance and biodiversity of sharks in The Bahamas, assess the near and far benefits of The Bahamas Shark Sanctuary and investigate the relationship between ecosystem health and shark abundance. Beside Shedd’s shark expert, participants will have a hands-on role with shark survey techniques, working hard but also having fun during this expedition.

Dates: April 6 – 12, 2019
Approximate Cost: $4,500
Iguana Research Expedition

Get your feet wet and your hands dirty while making a difference for wildlife conservation. Expect to work hard, learn a lot and find your adventure while exploring the Exuma Islands in The Bahamas in search of iguanas to collect crucial data on these critically endangered species. This citizen-science driven trip is hosted by Dr. Chuck Knapp, vice president of conservation and research, who is as passionate about iguanas and their ecosystem as he is knowledgeable. Since the early 1990s, he’s been actively studying and conserving rock iguanas. As part of the long-term project, participants will have a hands-on role with the fieldwork each day by taking measurements, weighing and tagging iguanas.

Dates: June 5-14, 2019
Approximate Cost: $3,700


Up Close with Polar Bears and Beluga Whales of Churchill, Manitoba

Head north to the wilderness of Churchill, Manitoba where beluga whales fill the Hudson Bay and polar bears roam the shoreline. Search for wildlife aboard the “Arctic Crawler” expedition vehicle, go on a dog-mushing experience with an energetic team of sled dogs, and meet the local people who call the “Polar Bear Capital of the World” home. Led by Steve Aibel, Shedd’s senior director of marine mammals, who has more than three decades of experience caring for whales, dolphins, sea lions, walruses and other animals, you’ll be sure to spot and identify wildlife of all kinds.

Dates: July 27 – August 2, 2019
Approximate Cost: $3,995 – $5,995

Big Five of Land and Sea – Experience Majestic South Africa

On a trip to South Africa, experience the beauty of Cape Town, including Table Mountain, the dramatic landscape of the Cape Peninsula and breathtaking botanical gardens. Walk amongst wild colonies of endangered African penguins and visit a facility that Shedd works with that rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured or stranded penguins. And, fly to the Madikwe conservation area for a luxury safari adventure. On this joint adventure with the Brookfield Zoo, Cheryl Mell, senior vice president of conservation partnerships and programs at Shedd, and Christopher Panek, Brookfield’s vice president of membership, will lead the group in search of the “Big Five” of land (lions, leopards, Cape buffaloes, elephants and rhinos) and the “Big Five” of the sea (great white sharks, southern right whales, African penguins, Cape fur seals and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins).  (Wait List Only)

Dates: >November 3 – 15, 2019
Approximate Cost: $8,295 – $15,380

About Shedd Aquarium

The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago sparks compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world. Home to 32,000 aquatic animals representing 1,500 species of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters around the globe, Shedd is a recognized leader in animal care, conservation education and research. An accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the first U.S. aquarium to be awarded the Humane Conservation™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals by American Humane, Shedd is also an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, and is supported by the people of Chicago, the State of Illinois and the Chicago Park District. www.sheddaquarium.org