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Want to see a sea animal up close? You otter try Shedd Aquarium’s new program

A child interacts with an otter through Shedd Aquarium's new otter experience program. | Provided

If your visits to the Shedd Aquarium have been hampered by the distance between you and the sea creatures wading around on the other side of the glass, your chance to get up close and personal is here.

The Shedd announced Tuesday it’s launching a sea otter encounter program offering a behind-the-scenes look at how the animals spend their time offstage. Participants can interact with the otters through a partition, observing food preparation, feeding and other activities.

The hour-long program costs $109.95, or $94.95 for children younger than 12; Shedd members pay $64.95.

Shedd plans to roll out the otter experience on Sunday; it will be offered weekends only for now and become “more frequent” starting in April, according to a Shedd news release.

Participants also will learn about sea otters’ biology, lifestyle and “threats facing the endangered animals in the wild,” according to the release.

Steve Aibel, senior director marine mammals at Shedd, hopes guests leave with a greater love for aquatic animals and a deeper understanding of why they need our help.

“Guests have never been able to come face to face with the otters like this before at Shedd, and we cannot wait for them to see what we see every day,” Aibel was quoted as saying in the Shedd news release. “While they may come in because of the gregarious and engaging nature of the animals, we hope that connecting our otters up close and seeing them look back at you will have a real impact on folks.”