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September 18, 2013

Here’s to at Least 80 More, Granddad!


More than 100 guests, Shedd staff members and volunteers crowded the Rivers gallery on Tuesday morning to wish Australian lungfish Granddad a happy 80th anniversary.

Granddad_proclamationAs befits such a significant occasion, the Australian Consul-General, The Honorable Roger Price, presented Shedd with a proclamation recognizing “the tremendous relationship between the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Government of Australia” that began with the exchange of native fishes between Chicago’s aquarium and Sydney's Taronga Zoo in 1933.

Collection manager Michelle Sattler skillfully condensed the Australian lungfish’s 100-million-year history, along with Granddad’s somewhat shorter career as the first of his species on exhibit in the United States, into a fascinating few minutes.

Granddad_cakeAnd a remarkable layer cake—actually two cubes of ice filled with smelt, shrimp, diced yellow squash, grated carrots and sweet potatoes, and green peas, all “frosted” with seaweed sheets, decorated with raspberries and garnished with escarole and silversides—was placed in Granddad’s habitat. The cake capsized—an upside-down cake for a Down Under fish?—and as the ice melted in the warm water, the contents spilled to the habitat bottom where Granddad and the other animals slurped and gobbled them up.

Be sure to visit Granddad—a Shedd treasure, a Chicago celebrity, Australia's most charismatic ex pat and the oldest fish at any aquarium or zoo in the world—to wish him a happy anniversary!

Karen Furnweger, web editor

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Happy birthday Granddad! You're my favorite creature at the Shedd.

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