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 2018, 783 volunteers gave more than 95,000 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. Now recruiting!

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

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! Now recruiting!

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


Every time I come in, I learn something new about either the animals, the aquarium or the volunteers! Coming in is always a positive learning experience, and that is one of the things I look forward to when I come in to volunteer every week!”

- - Alisabeth Canole, Guest Engagement Volunteer


I truly value Shedd's contributions to animal conservation and knowledge over its long history, and have cherished the dialogues I've had with the aquarium visitors about these animals. The natural world brings out empathy, curiosity, and compassion in so many people and in so many ways - being able to share a little more insight about these wonderful creatures has been a privilege. And no matter my mood when I arrive, I always walk away from my Shedd volunteer shift with a pep in my step; the excitement visitors feel about these animals is contagious!"

- - Sam Alspaugh, 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.