Every year Shedd Aquarium welcomes 2 million guests for unforgettable encounters with belugas and bluegills, stingrays and sturgeons. But Shedd is more than just a destination. With partners in Chicago and around the globe, we’re also protecting endangered species and their habitats and rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife in need. Chicagoan John G. Shedd wanted to give back to the city in which he had risen from stock boy to president of department store giant Marshall Field & Company. Because every great city in the United States and Europe had a fine aquarium, he decided that Chicago must have the biggest and best. Mr. Shedd imagined a stately marble building and a collection of aquatic animals from around the world that would complement the two world-class institutions already in Grant Park, the Field Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. With Shedd’s initial donation of $2 million, the not-for-profit Shedd Aquarium Society was founded on Feb. 1, 1924, “to construct, maintain and operate an aquarium or museum of aquatic life exclusively for educational and scientific purposes….” Shedd's mission is to spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world.