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First went the plastic bags, then the plastic straws. Now they’re coming for more. The Shedd Aquarium announces a new initiative to significantly reduce or eliminate the use of disposable plastic bottles by 2020.

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Americans use an estimated 500 million straws each day, but a Shedd Aquarium initiative is trying to put a dent in that figure. Last week, nearly two dozen restaurants joined the effort.

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Shedd Aquarium's Animal Response Team has been assisting with the rehabilitation of an orphaned sea otter pup in Seward, Alaska. (©Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez)

On a mission from Chicago, two Shedd Aquarium staffers have been providing around-the-clock care for a sea otter pup rescued in Alaska. 

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(Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium)

Visitors to Shedd Aquarium’s seasonal exhibit can dip their hands into a pool and discover the texture of this unique sea creature. 

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(© Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez)

Starting July 1, visitors to the Shedd can experience nearly all the aquarium has to offer for one price. And for Chicago residents, this means potential savings of nearly 50 percent.

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(Shedd Aquarium)

Shedd Aquarium’s dolphin calf Kukdlaa celebrated his first birthday with positive results from a physical checkup. And with cake, of course.

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(Plastic Pollution Coalition)

With an eye toward Earth Day, Shedd Aquarium has launched a campaign encouraging people to switch from single-use plastic straws to reusable or biodegradable alternatives.

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First-time mother Katrl gave birth to a dolphin calf in April 2016. (© Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez)

What is it like to touch and work with dolphins? One Shedd trainer said they feel firm, smooth and a little colder than you might expect, according to the aquarium’s dolphin fact list.

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Western pond turtle (Courtesy of Yosemite National Park)

The tale of the Western pond turtle was one of several success stories shared with donors Monday evening at a Shedd Aquarium event focused on conservation efforts nationwide. 

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(© Shedd Aquarium / Sam Cejtin)

Shedd Aquarium researchers are studying queen conch populations in the Bahamas to understand the decline of the popular snail in the Caribbean. 

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(Shedd Aquarium)

For the fifth year, members of Shedd Aquarium's Animal Response Team participated in a rescue mission of endangered penguin chicks in South Africa. Learn about their work.

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The Shedd Aquarium is calling on President Barack Obama to sign legislation that aims to curb the highly lucrative, international business of illegally trading endangered and threatened animals.

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The Adler Planetarium is one of three Chicago museums offering free admission to CPS students on Aug. 29. (Craig Stillwell / Wikimedia Commons)

Chicago Public School students can kick off their last week of freedom at one of several Chicago institutions. Learn more.

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Hiss Majesty, a 16-year-old Caiman lizard at the Shedd Aquarium, was fitted for a new prosthetic limb on Wednesday.

Hiss Majesty, a 16-year-old Caiman lizard at the Shedd Aquarium, was fitted for a new prosthetic limb on Wednesday.

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Mexican gray wolf pups, an endangered species, at Brookfield Zoo. (Brookfield Zoo)

Two Chicago-area institutions are the first in the nation to receive certification in a new program that assesses the well-being of animals held in captivity.

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The Shedd Aquarium has added a new source of power as part of its green initiative – and it isn’t coming from the institution's electric eels.