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.
At least once every three months; 40 hours a year
Vary by event. Weekday and weekend opportunities available.
Training and Onboarding
Successful applicants who complete the general on-boarding process will receive additional, specialized training from staff. See our "FAQs" for the general volunteer on-boarding process.
Aquarium Host volunteers must attend one additional training, which is offered on a monthly basis. Training occurs on Saturday or Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
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
Due to the volume of applications we receive, we are unable to accept all applicants to our program. We will do our best to find a match base on the applicant’s and the aquarium’s needs, but that is not always possible.
This depends on your interests and availability, as well as our volunteer needs. For weekend roles and popular assignments, it may take several months to one year for a space to open.
If you need a volunteer role that offers flexible scheduling and accommodates schedule changes, consider applying to be an Aquarium Host or Aquarium Ambassador volunteer.
We welcome volunteers under the age of 18 as Aquarium Ambassadors. Those 12 to 15 years old must volunteer with an adult. Note: This adult must also complete an application and all required steps to become a volunteer.
Volunteers 18 and over may participate in all programs except diving; divers must be at least 21 years old.
Please see the volunteer assignment descriptions for specific age requirements.
All of our volunteers have a passion for learning and an interest in aquatic animals. If that’s you, you’re in good company!
We benefit from having a diverse volunteer program and welcome individuals from all walks of life. At Shedd, you’ll find volunteers ranging in age from 12 to 93. You may meet volunteers who are students, working professionals, retirees, or stay-at-home parents.
Many have been lifelong visitors and want to help an organization they care about. Some want to gain experience for a future career, while others are “testing the waters” of a second career. Some are seeking to use or develop skills, and some just want a break from everyday life. Others are interested in meeting people with similar interests, or simply enjoy talking to people.