Party for the Planet® Spring into Action

Shedd Aquarium, Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo invite you to Party for the Planet! Join us between Earth Day (April 22) and World Oceans Day (June 8) for a Family Volunteer Day to help restore local habitats, then come to one or more of our celebration events.

Celebration events

Party with us! Visit Shedd Aquarium, Lincoln Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo for special celebrations. Those who join a Family Volunteer Day will receive special prizes and discounts!

Party for the Planet kickoff party
Saturday, April 13, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. (recycling only)
Sunday, April 14, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (recycling and green-themed activities)
Brookfield Zoo

Endangered Species Day
Saturday, May 18
Lincoln Park Zoo

Party for the Planet celebration on World Oceans Day
Saturday, June 8
Shedd Aquarium

Family Volunteer Days

Give back to the wild places in your back yard! The Chicago region is home to more than 6,000 plant and animal species—and upward of 10 million people! The lakes, prairies, rivers, wetlands, dunes and forests that make up the Chicago-area ecosystem are your home too.

Get your hands dirty cleaning beaches, planting native grasses, removing invasive plants and collecting important data through citizen science projects. Events are held at natural areas throughout the Chicago metro area.

Contact us at GreatLakesActionDays@sheddaquarium.org or 312-692-3330 to sign up. 

Family Volunteer Day dates and locations

12th Street Beach
Wednesday, May 8 at 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Ping Tom Memorial Park
Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m.-noon
Saturday, June 8 at 10 a.m.-noon

Bob Mann Woods
Thursday, May 16 at 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

63rd Street Beach
Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m.-noon

North Avenue Beach
Saturday, June 1 at 10 a.m.-noon

Age and requirements

We welcome volunteers of all ages! For group (10+ individuals) inquiries, please contact us at GreatLakesActionDays@sheddaquarium.org.

What do I need to bring?

Instructions and directions will be sent to you. Materials and tools for each activity are supplied at the site. Participants are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles, snacks and sunscreen, and to wear weather-appropriate outdoor clothing and shoes. We’ll let you know if additional items are needed.

What else should I know about family volunteer events?

  • All events are weather dependent.
  • Participants are responsible for their own transportation to the site. We encourage carpooling or taking public transportation where possible.
  • Each participant will need to sign a waiver to participate.

Party for the Planet prizes and giveaways

Volunteers will receive special incentives for participating! Prizes will vary but may include reusable water bottles, plush animals, tickets to visit Shedd Aquarium and more.

Family Volunteer Day activities

Volunteer activities vary at each site based on habitat needs. Below are activity options:

Litter cleanups
To help keep our local waters free of debris, we host litter cleanups along the Lake Michigan shoreline, through the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach™ program, and along the Chicago River. Volunteers will work in teams, combing the beach or bank for litter and recording data on their findings to support effective policies for preventing litter from getting into our waterways.

Habitat restoration
With more than 180 invasive plant and animal species in the Chicago region, taking action to prevent the spread of harmful ecological invaders is a good start toward restoring the places our local critters call home. Participants will learn about the natural habitats along Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and in forest preserves around Chicago, while making a positive difference for local wildlife, from frogs and salamanders to migratory birds. This is a great way to get physical and have fun restoring habitat!

Party for the Planet® Spring into Action is a coordinated campaign in 2019 from Earth Day to World Oceans Day that empowers accredited zoos and aquariums to connect visitors to conservation through educational events, social media and family volunteer opportunities that improve our planet.