Open 9 am - 5 pm
A volunteer diver in Shedd's Caribbean Reef habitat gets eye to eye with a moray eel.

Where do volunteers dive?

A diver comes face to face with three curious cownose rays, each about the size of her torso.

Caribbean Reef

In addition to the overall diver responsibilities, Caribbean Reef divers also hand-feed the animals during presentations, answer guests’ questions while underwater, prepare food and assist in animal observations. Volunteers in this role will need to pass a scripted audition as part of training. Public speaking experience, knowledge of aquatic life and an ability to commit to two years or more is preferred.

People gather around the Secluded Bay habitat in the Oceanarium to watch belugas as they break the water's surface for air.

Abbott Oceanarium

During morning dives in the Abbott Oceanarium, marine mammals divers help with habitat maintenance, including scrubbing off algae, and with additional gear preparation and setup. At least five hours of cold-water diving experience is required. This role does not involve contact with the animals.

A diver in one of the habitats above the heads of visitors in Wild Reef waves down at his audience.

Wild Reef

In addition to overall maintenance responsibilities, Wild Reef divers may assist in animal feeding and observations. While there are several habitats our divers enter within Wild Reef, the large shark exhibit is restricted to staff. Rescue diver certification is required for this role.

What are the benefits of being a Shedd volunteer?

  • 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