Frequently Asked Questions

Learn about our cause and how the duck race works.
Make a contribution:
Adopt a Duck Now!


What time do the ducks race?
The festival begins at 10 am and the ducks begin their race at 1 pm.

How Do My Ducks Get in the Water?
One week prior to our duck race, volunteers from Coca-Cola come together and place numbered tags on the bottom of every duck that plans to race, over 60,000! Each number corresponds to someone who has adopted a duck. Our good friends at at the Chicago Federation of Labor will carry all the ducks to the River and then dump them in at the start of the race!

How will I know if my duck wins?
Special Olympics Illinois will contact you using the information you provided with your duck adoption.

Can I adopt a duck for my child?
Duck adoptions must be made in the name of an adult, age 18 or older.

Are they real ducks or rubber ducks?
Rubber ducks, silly!

What happens to all the ducks after the race?
Volunteers collect the ducks from the River, crate them up and send them on to the next race.

Once I adopt a duck, do I get to keep it?
No, your adopted duck will race for your chance to win fabulous prizes. You will not be able to keep the duck after the race.

Do I need to be present to win?
No, but it’s a lot of fun to attend Race Day!

Is there an admission fee for the Duck Derby?
No. All activities, entertainment, and give-a-ways are free on Race Day. However, to adopt a duck the cost is $5.

How much do ducks cost?
Single duck: $5
Quack Pack (6 ducks for the price of 5): $25
Flock of Ducks (Get 24 ducks in the race for the price of 20) $100.00
Diamond Duck Pack (Get 240 ducks in the race for the price of 200) $1,000.00

Can I adopt ducks on race day?
Yes, you can adopt ducks from 7 am until approximately 12:30 pm (or when ducks sell out) on Race Day at 400 North Michigan Avenue. Online adoptions will open the morning of the race until approximately 12:30pm or sooner if ducks become unavailable.