Open 9 am - 5 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!

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? 

Check out our Shedd Aquarium Action Days program.

Recognizing your commitment 

In 2019, 848 volunteers gave more than 100,580 hours of service! Thanks to our 2019 Yearly Milestone Volunteers!

 All Opportunities 

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Aquarium Host Volunteers

This is a great way to get involved with Shedd if you have limited or changing availability. Aquarium hosts help with special event that include Jazzin’ at the Shedd, fundraisers, exhibit openings and other evening events; learning events like summer camp and overnights; conservation events, including Great Lakes Action Days ; and administrative tasks, including data entry, and “thank-you” calls to new members.
Learn More , on the Aquarium Host Volunteers page

Aquarium Ambassadors

Spark curiosity, compassion and conservation for the aquatic animal world with Shedd’s diverse audiences. Choose one or more specializations to share amazing animal stories in exhibits, connect guests to animals at touch pool habitats and in learning labs, and inspire conservation through hands-on activities both at the aquarium and in the community.
Learn More , on the Aquarium Ambassadors page

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