Live fish deliveries used to be a whole lot harder!!

Live fish deliveries used to be a whole lot harder!!

Nautilus - the Shedd's Fishcar

Most of the fish, corals, aquatic plants and other creatures you’ll find at Aquatica were hand-delivered or overnighted to our store. We make saltwater onsite, and service customers get home delivery.

It used to be way more work for Chicagoans to bring nature into their homes and other spaces.

Take Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. For decades following its 1930 opening, the aquarium used custom-built Pullman railcars, Nautilus I and its successor Nautilus II, to collect seawater, fishes, and invertebrates from the coasts of Maine, Florida, California for its displays. As this photo essay explains, fishcar Nautilus could be configured to handle either fresh or marine species, and species from cold through tropical environments. Once, with an assist from a freighter, Nautilus collected an Australian lungfish, Granddad. Granddad went on to live eight decades at the Shedd.

Granddad is sadly no longer with us. But you can visit Nautilus II–still fitted with her saltwater tanks–at her Central Illinois retirement home, the Monticello Railway Museum. It’s about two hours south on I-57. Let us know if you make it!
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