Open 9 am - 5 pm

Activities

Four teens in windbreakers and hoodies stand on a great lakes beach in the bright afternoon sun, the blue lake visible behind them as they hold up large blue plastic bags of trash collected from the beach.

Litter cleanups

We host cleanups at sites along the Lake Michigan shoreline through the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach™ program as well as along the Chicago River. Volunteers work in teams, combing the shorelines for litter and recording data on their findings to support science-based litter prevention strategies.

A woman working on coastal habitat restoration in a field.

Coastal Habitat Restoration

We’re working with the Chicago Park District to help bring natural spaces to our city parks. Through pulling weeds, planting native species, or seed collecting we take action for Great Lakes habitats.

A volunteer wearing a windbreaker and jeans crouches in a local wood to cut down an invasive tree with a hacksaw. In the background, another volunteer tends a brush fire.

Woodland Habitat Restoration

In partnership with the Forest Preserves of Cook County, we make a positive difference for amphibians and other wildlife by restoring habitats. We use hand tools to cut and burn invasive brush to make room for native flora and fauna.

Two volunteers wearing life vests stand in the shallow edge of a local river, digging in the sand and slurry. A nearby canoe holds several native plants in pots ready to be planted.

River Planting

Shedd has teamed up with the Friends of the Chicago River to help reestablish crucial habitat in the North Shore Channel. Volunteers will wear waders and travel via canoe to plant native aquatic plant species along the banks of the canal.

Community Action Day Locations

Registration for Action Days can be done online – Sign Up Here! Please email [email protected] with questions or group volunteer inquiries.

Woodland Habitat Restoration

Skokie Lagoons

  • Wednesday, May 15, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 26, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 17, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 21, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 18, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Bob Mann Woods

  • Thursday, May 16, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 20, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 18, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 15, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 19, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Litter Cleanup and Coastal Habitat Restoration

Ping Tom Memorial Park

  • Saturday, June 8, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 13, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 10, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 14, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

63rd St Beach

  • Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 15, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 20, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 17, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 21, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Calumet Park Beach

  • Saturday, June 29, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 27, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 31, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 28, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

12th St Beach

  • Wednesday, June 5, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, July 3, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, August 7, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, September 4, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

River Planting with Friends of Chicago River

Kickapoo Woods

  • Check back soon!

Dammrich Rowing Center

  • Check back soon!
A group of people, some carrying buckets, walk through grasslands.

Group Action Days

Have a class, scout group or community organization that would like to attend a Shedd Aquarium Action Day? Please email [email protected] with your group size and preferred location from the list above.

A group of people in matching orange t-shirts stand on a beach.

Corporate Action Days

Corporate group Shedd Aquarium Action Day opportunities are reserved for current corporate partners. Email to learn more.

More Information

Age and Requirements

All ages are welcome! No minimum requirements.

What to Bring

Reusable water bottles, snacks, and weather-appropriate outdoor clothing and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Based on the time of year, you may want to bring sunscreen or bugspray.

Possible Activities

  • Beach cleanup
  • Habitat and wildlife monitoring
  • Invasive plant removal
  • Habitat restoration

What to Know

• All events are weather-dependent.
• Transportation is available for select school and youth groups.
• Participant waivers are required.

Corporate Opportunities

Corporate group Shedd Aquarium Action Day opportunities are reserved for current corporate partners. Email to learn more.