Volunteer Opportunities

Join the Shedd family! Become a volunteer.

At Shedd Aquarium, volunteers are valued partners. They can be found in almost every area of the aquarium: preparing food for our animals, sharing stories with our guests, testing water samples, and even diving. And that’s just the surface!

In 2016, 844 volunteers gave more than 112,000 hours of service!

You don’t need to be an expert to volunteer. If you're passionate about aquatic life, and you love to learn, teach and inspire, you'll be a great volunteer!

Volunteer roles

Click on the descriptions below to learn more about our roles. Make sure you review these carefully, as each role has different schedules, commitments and requirements.

Guest engagement: Share Shedd stories with guests at exhibits or during paid experiences. Includes strolling interpretation, exhibit interpretation, behind-the-scenes tours and penguin encounters. Now recruiting!

Learning programs: Inspire the next generation of learners at Shedd by engaging with our school-group audience. Now recruiting!

Audience research and evaluationHelp us understand who our guests are, why they visit and how we spark their compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world. Now recruiting!

Fishes husbandryNothing fishy here: It takes a lot to care for our animals! Assist with daily husbandry tasks for fishes, reptiles, invertebrates, small mammals, and amphibians.

Marine mammal husbandry: Help care for some of the popular and charismatic residents of the Abbott Oceanarium: sea lions, sea otters, penguins, and birds of prey.

Water-quality laboratory: Test the waters and help ensure a healthy environment for Shedd's animal collection.

Divers: “Dive in” to volunteering at Shedd and see things from our animals’ perspective. Opportunities are available in several exhibits, and the diving conditions are ideal!

Other volunteer opportunities: Looking for more ways to help? Check out these additional support roles.


What else should I know?
Refer to these Frequently Asked Questions for more information on our program. If you still need assistance, please contact us.

Current volunteers

Log in to VicNet for the latest news, your service records, traffic alerts and more! VicNet is only accessible to current Shedd Aquarium volunteers and interns.

Volunteer Testimonials


I love volunteering at Shedd. It is an outstanding organization, without a doubt! It also gives my son and I the opportunity to do something together and something we both love...to learn and to talk about animals. In my opinion, the way the organization is run is fantastic. The staff is very friendly as well as our Tuesday volunteers. Learning about each of the animals has been a highlight for me. For example, I did not appreciate sharks until I started interpreting and learning so many fascinating facts about them. The fact they are target fed, blows me away!”

- Larissa DeSmet (Exhibit Interpreter volunteer)


At first, I sought to volunteer at Shedd because I was curious to learn more about aquatic animals. After three years of volunteering, I realize that I not only love to learn about the animals that call Shedd home; I also feel recharged to talk to the guests and to learn what they are curious about!"

- Alissa Wlodaver (Behind-the-Scenes Tour volunteer)

What are the benefits of being a volunteer?

• Opportunities to help Shedd fulfill its mission by sparking compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world.

• Knowledge gained about our animals and the environments they live in

• Interactions with a diverse group of staff members, volunteers and guests who share a passion for aquatic life

• The chance to see how Shedd works behind the scenes

• Admission to the aquarium and other cultural institutions

• Gift shop and café discounts

• Discounted parking while volunteering

• And more!

How do I volunteer?

• Read about the volunteer roles and determine your interest

• Read the FAQs for more information on the program

• Complete the online volunteer application

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions? Get all the answers right here! 

Contact Us

Still have questions? Email volunteer services.