Chicago's Shedd Aquarium is boasting the best attendance among U.S. aquariums with more than 2 million visitors in 2012.
The aquarium along Lake Michigan reported precisely 2,169,333 visitors, also making it among the most-attended attractions in Chicago.
About a third of the guests attended the aquarium with free admission. The facility offers dozens of discount days a year.
Shedd officials say the aquarium subsidized nearly $1.45 million for school children in Illinois, helping nearly 53,000 Chicago Public School students with free field trips and classes. About 114,000 more students from across Illinois received free admission.
The aquarium has more than 32,000 animals and more than 1,500 species. Last year it celebrated the birth of its first Pacific white-sided dolphin calf and sixth beluga whale.