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 2017, 807 volunteers gave more than 100,000 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 animal stories with Shedd’s guests as an exhibit interpreter or a summer interpreter. Now recruiting!

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

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!

Special events and other opportunities: Looking for more ways to help? Check out these additional support roles. Now recruiting!


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.

Looking for group, short-term, or service hour volunteering? Check out our Great Lakes Action Days program.

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


Each volunteer shift is an opportunity to learn something new about the aquatic animal world and to encounter the best of what Shedd Aquarium and Chicago have to offer. I love that the Guest Engagement department bridges the gap between knowledge of the animals and the people who are excited to learn more about them, allowing me as a volunteer to gain knowledge and professional skills."

- Katharine Spencer (Guest Engagement Volunteer)


Volunteering in Guest Engagement at Shedd has given me an opportunity to be an advocate for the animals in Shedd’s care and in the wild.  It feels great to educate the public about these animals in order to “wet the sponge” in getting folks to care about survival of wild animals.  I also appreciate the social aspect of volunteering and the ongoing education.”

- Karen Harlander (Guest Engagement 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.