Chicago, IL, USA (May 7, 2012) — Shedd Aquarium announced today that its popular special exhibit, Jellies, sponsored by Walgreens, has been extended through 2013. Since launching the exhibit last spring, Shedd has welcomed over 1.1 million guests to the mysterious world of these rarely seen creatures that survive—and thrive—without bones, blood, or brains.
From the beautiful, translucent moon jellies to fascinating sea nettles, Jellies showcases over 10 species throughout this temporary special exhibit. Guests “dive” into the deep and complicated world of jellies, learning how their simple bodies have allowed them to survive for millions of years. Among the educational experiences, guests will learn how a jelly can devour enough food to double its weight each day, and how sea nettles hunt by trailing their long tentacles and frilly feeding arms covered with stinging cells that paralyze prey upon contact.
“Jellies are one of the ocean’s most mesmerizing creatures. In its first year alone, Jellies has captured the curiosity of over a million guests. Thanks to visitor feedback, we’re delighted to continue offering this extraordinary and upclose view of these amazing animals,” said Mark Schick, collection manager at Shedd Aquarium. “While they’re best known for their sting, sea jellies play a pivotal role in the ocean’s ecosystem. Jellies provides an eye-opening visual lesson on the larger conservation part that these creatures have in the world’s balanced ocean environment.”
Jelly blooms – or massive groups of jellies – occur naturally, but now they are happening at times and places where they aren’t expected. These blooms may hold clues about the health of the oceans. Climate change, pollution, overfishing and other environmental pressures have thrown marine ecosystems out of balance, but jellies have evolutionary advantages that may help them thrive in troubled waters. The exhibit features videos of actual blooms and informative panels that explain what scientists currently know about these beautiful but startling swarms.
“Every exhibit at the aquarium – permanent to special – provides visitors with a meaningful experience that will inspire them to act,” said Ted Beattie, Shedd President and CEO. “The vibrant colors, illustrative models and extraordinary nature of the animals themselves – all featured within Jellies – connect the allure of this species with the explorer at the heart of all of us. We’re proud at Shedd to continue providing a space where our guests can embrace his or her inner underwater explorer through Jellies.”
Jellies teaches guests how jellies’ bodies are 95 percent water and their feeding arms can grow up to 8 feet long; how drifting with the current, jellies travel thousands of miles; and how the tiniest jelly could nestle into a contact lens, while the largest couldn’t squeeze into a minivan.
Jellies at Shedd Aquarium is on display now through 2013. For more information, please call 312-939-2438 or visit www.sheddaquarium.org.