The massive heat waves we’ve been experiencing recently made me wish I could find a way to cool down. So to get our minds off the debilitating temperatures and ridiculous humidity, I figured why not focus our imagination on more interesting things, like summer vacation! With my own vacation just around the corner, I decided to base this month's inspiration post on one of the highlights from last years trip to Chicago. I still have plenty of photos to share, so this is a great opportunity to show you all what else we encountered while in the Windy City.
While in Chicago, one of the great locations Linda and I had the opportunity to visit was the Shedd Aquarium. Conceptualized by John Graves Shedd, the aquarium was which bears his name was inaugurated in 1930 and has seen two expansions since. It is located in Grant Park, not far from the Field Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.
With a neoclassical style, the building is made out of white Georgia marble and terra cotta. There is a fountain near the main entrance, depicting a man holding a giant fish, which greets visitors as they approach the aquarium. Once past the main doors, we enter the main hall, with its white walls, marble floors and high ceilings, giving the room an appearance that is both sophisticated and imposing.
There are many things to see once you are past the ticket lines. First, we will take a look at some of the exhibits, displays and interactive kiosks available.
The goal of a public aquarium is to showcase aquatic life for educational and scientific purposes. Thousands of different species are displayed in hundreds of different aquariums of different shapes and sizes. Also present are human sized sculptures of aquatic animals, either to indicate the content of a nearby tank, or to help visualize the actual size by comparison. There are also interactive kiosks, one of which was Linda’s favorite, sting ray petting!
Next we come to the most obvious component of an aquarium: the marine life. A wide variety of species, ranging from fish, to invertebrates, to amphibians, to mammals, can be seen up close. Their holding tanks are meant to imitate their natural habitat, which not only to makes the animals more comfortable, but increases the experience for the visitors as well.
As you can see, a trip to the aquarium, especially one as big and impressive as the Shedd Aquarium, can be especially beneficial for any writer. Maybe you are searching for references on neoclassical structures, or the layout of a public aquarium for a particular scene. Perhaps you need to study underwater environments for a story taking place at sea, or take a closer look at some aquatic life for a character concept (good fictional fish examples include Jaws the shark, Nemo the clownfish, or the classic white whale from Moby Dick).
I hope you enjoyed this month's inspiration post as much as Linda and I enjoyed visiting the Shedd Aquarium. I strongly encourage you to go out there and experience it for yourself.
Until next time.
***all pictures are taken by myself. Copyright Patrick Osborne, 2015***