Shedd Aquarium volunteers 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! 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 Applications are currently closed. Please check back in early 2022 for updates.
Already a volunteer?
Join the Shedd Family
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!
We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, Veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity organization and welcomes everyone to our team. If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know.
Looking for group, short-term, or service hour volunteering?
When we have a volunteer opening, we review applications on file for matching interests and availability. Volunteers must meet all the requirements of a role to be considered.
Prospective volunteers are contacted to set up a short phone call to discuss the program and are given further details about current openings. After the call, the volunteer may be invited to come in for an interview with a member of the volunteer staff and/or another department.
If the position and an applicant are a good fit, the prospective volunteer will be asked to complete an electronic background check, and references will be contacted.
All new volunteers must attend an orientation in which they learn about policies and procedures, receive a volunteer shirt and ID badge and have the chance to meet other individuals new to Shedd.
After orientation, volunteers complete any additional training for their role with their assigned departments.
- Admission to the aquarium and other cultural institutions
- The chance to see how Shedd works behind the scenes
- Gift shop and café discounts and discounted parking while volunteering
- Helping to spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world.
- Meeting a diverse group of staff members, volunteers and guests who share a passion for aquatic life
If you are interested in becoming a Shedd Aquarium volunteer, please complete the online application.
All Shedd Aquarium Volunteers are required to:
- Be at least 12 years old. If under the age of 16, a volunteer must be accompanied by an adult at all times. This adult must also submit an application.
- Complete a background check
- Provide two references we may contact.
- Attend a new volunteer orientation and any additional training that may be required for your position.
- Commit to the required length of service for your chosen role
- Exceed 40 hours of service per year
Recognizing your commitment
In 2019, 848 volunteers gave more than 100,580 hours of service! Thanks to our 2019 Yearly Milestone Volunteers!
Click on the descriptions below to learn more about our volunteer opportunities. Make sure you review these carefully, as each role has different schedules, commitments and requirements.