Open 9 am - 6 pm

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!


Recognizing your commitment

In 2018, volunteers gave more than 95,000 hours of service! Thanks to our 2018 Hourly Milestone Volunteers!

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

Now Recruiting

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.

All Opportunities

A horticulture volunteer works in Shedd's abundant gardens, spreading chocolate-smelling cocoa shells for mulch.

Horticulture Volunteers

Shedd’s lakefront location is surrounded by gardens designed for our growing conditions, and volunteers help keep them looking great. Help is needed from late spring to early fall with garden maintenance tasks.

Learn More , on the Horticulture Volunteers page
A volunteer leads a group of children through an activity during Shedd's Spooky Seas Overnight event.

Special Events Volunteers

This is a great way to get involved with Shedd if you have limited or changing availability. Special events opportunities include helping with Jazzin’ at the Shedd, fundraisers, exhibit openings and other evening events; learning department events like summer camp and overnights; conservation events, including Great Lakes Action Days ; and administrative tasks, including data entry, “thank-you” calls to new members and mailroom duties.

Learn More , on the Special Events Volunteers page
A guest experience volunteer engages with guests in Amazon Rising.

Guest Engagement Volunteers

Share animal stories with Shedd’s guests as an exhibit interpreter or a summer interpreter. Connect guests to animals at touch pool habitats and inspire conservation through hands-on activities. Responsibilities include promoting self-discovery, engaging guests with relevant animal information and providing great customer service for audiences of various backgrounds.

Learn More , on the Guest Engagement Volunteers page
A volunteer diver in Shedd's Caribbean Reef habitat gets eye to eye with a moray eel.

Diver Volunteers

Diver responsibilities include helping clean and maintain exhibits and equipment, cleaning and maintaining support areas, preparing and setting up gear, and recordkeeping and tending while other divers are in the exhibit. All divers must be open-water scuba certified by a recognized agency (PADI, NAUI, YMCA, etc.) and must present proof of at least 30 logged open-water dives. Our dive programs are popular, so there is often a waiting list.

Learn More , on the Diver Volunteers page
A Shedd volunteer shows a turtle to a young guest.

Fishes Husbandry Volunteers

Enjoy the messier aspects of maintaining our animals by preparing food, cleaning animal care and support areas and assisting with other important tasks. While animal contact is minimal, individuals gain experience and learn while working closely with our expert staff members. Animal care experience is helpful but not required.

Learn More , on the Fishes Husbandry Volunteers page
A volunteer at the environmental quality lab works on a water sample.

Water-Quality Lab Volunteers

This role is ideal for those interested in the scientific aspects of Shedd. Every day water-quality lab volunteers analyze water samples from around the aquarium. performing wet-chemical analyses, cleaning lab equipment and glassware, and recording data for distribution to staff. A minimum of high school A.P. chemistry is required, and additional college chemistry coursework or professional experience is helpful, as is familiarity with basic aquarium water parameters and tests.

Learn More , on the Water-Quality Lab Volunteers page
Volunteers prep food in the marine mammals kitchen.

Marine Mammals Husbandry Volunteers

Enjoy the messier aspects of maintaining our sea lions, sea otters, penguins and birds of prey by preparing a variety of frozen foods, cleaning exhibit and support areas and assisting the animal care specialists with other critical tasks. (This role does not include work with the whales and dolphins.) Tasks can be physically demanding and include exposure to cold temperatures and saltwater. Although animal contact is minimal, you’ll work closely with and learn from our expert staff. Animal care experience is helpful, but not required.

Learn More , on the Marine Mammals Husbandry Volunteers page
A learning specialist presents a hermit crab to a group of Science Tech Trek students.

Learning Programs Volunteers

Inspire the next generation of learners at Shedd by engaging with our school-group audience. Our Learning Programs volunteers receive training that enables them to assist school group audiences with Learning Labs and Science Tech Trek learning experiences at the aquarium.

Learn More , on the Learning Programs Volunteers page
A member of Shedd's audience research team asks guests a few questions on their way out of the building.

Research and Evaluation Volunteers

Help us gain a better understanding of Shedd’s diverse audiences: who they are, why they come, what engages them, what they learn and how they connect to the aquarium. Responsibilities include assisting with program and exhibit evaluations, collecting data through interviews, surveys and observations, helping with data entry and acting as a knowledgeable and friendly face of the aquarium while engaging with Shedd audiences.

Learn More , on the Research and Evaluation Volunteers page