Shedd Aquarium officials said Chicago’s famous landmark could miss out on up to $3 million at NASCAR street races this summer’s Fourth of July weekend.
During the aquarium’s busiest time of year, up to 10,000 guests visit each day. Access to the Museum Campus and Northerly Island is expected to be affected by closures related to NASCAR street racing.
Megan Curran, the aquarium’s chief marketing and experience officer, said the closure of nearby streets usually has a significant impact on tourist traffic, and with Lollapalooza’s Columbus Drive closed, a typical summer weekend visit says it will decrease by 30% each year.
With the preparation and teardown process for NASCAR street races expected to take about 10 days, the aquarium expects visitor numbers to drop significantly in what could be one of the busiest weekends of the year. .
For the first time, NASCAR will bring stock car racing to the streets of Chicago in 2023, with a 2.2-mile circuit that will allow drivers to pass the city’s most iconic landmarks. However, Shedd Aquarium is estimated to lose “$2 million to $3 million” from road closures.
In addition to the business impact of the crowded weekend, the aquarium is also concerned about the potential impact of the closure on its summer camp program.
Curran said guests often plan to visit closer to the day they go, but the presence of the races and widespread closures near downtown Lakeside are expected to reduce revenues on weekends with heavy tourism. .
NASCAR said logistics plans for the race are still being finalized, but the Chicago Street Race chairman said visitors will continue to be able to access the museum and more information will be released in the coming weeks. I was.
NASCAR is scheduled to meet with the Grant Park Advisory Committee next month, and officials will provide details and estimated footprints for the summer event.