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Volunteer opportunity description

Principal Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Engage with guests and school groups in exhibits. Provide the highest level of volunteer-led engagements for participants by relaying accurate and relevant animal information through conversations and hands-on activities. 
  • Provide superior guest service, creating a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Meet with staff to receive exhibit and program updates and schedule for the day. 
  • Participate in formal trainings and coaching to ensure, and further develop, effective interpretation skills and comprehensive content knowledge. 
  • Meet with staff and other volunteers on an as-needed basis to review program content and logistics, propose modifications and identify growth opportunities. 


  • Eager and skilled at working with audiences/groups of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Energetic, enthusiastic and team-oriented with an ability to maintain an active schedule.
  • Passionate about learning and sharing information regarding Shedd’s collection.
  • Excited to engage school groups while they are participating in facilitated or self-directed field trips.
  • Previous experience interpreting or teaching in a formal or informal education setting a plus.
  • 16 years of age or older (12-15 years of age can volunteer with an adult).
  • Able to meet program attendance commitment.


The Guest Engagement and Learning Programs staff will provide training, which will cover exhibits, aquarium information and technology needs as deemed necessary to engage guests. Volunteers will also be notified of any additional aquarium training offerings that would apply to their personal growth.

Skills Profile:

  • Facilitate hands-on activities.
  • Make information relevant to aquarium guests.
  • Adapt to a variety of audiences.
  • Proactively engage large groups of guests including school groups.
  • Communicate comfortably and clearly in a variety of settings.
  • Be approachable.
  • Help with group management by assisting chaperones/teachers as needed.
  • Be familiar with aquarium-related school groups activities and technology.



  • Passion for nature and the aquarium’s mission.
  • Energy and enthusiasm.
  • Life-long learner.
  • Self-motivation.
  • Energized by working with large groups.
  • Excited to work with school groups and field trips.

What you can gain from being an Exhibit Interpreter Volunteer? 

  • Opportunity for personal growth that results from assisting a non-profit community organization in educating and engaging the guests and school groups.
  • Opportunity to learn more about the biology and behaviors of animals and the interrelationships within their ecosystems.
  • Opportunity to serve guests, teachers, chaperones and students.
  • Opportunity to socialize with others at Shedd Aquarium who share common interests.



  • Attend all Guest Engagement training sessions.
  • Make a minimum three-month commitment to volunteering with Guest Engagement, though longer is encouraged.


  • Weekly, biweekly, and flexible schedules offered.
  • Shifts run 9am-1:30pm or 1pm-5:30pm, with some flexibility.
  • Schedule changes can be accommodated.
  • Volunteers are asked to attend a minimum of 70% of their scheduled shifts.

Our volunteer needs

We need volunteers who are free at these times


Volunteer opportunity location(s)

About the organization

Shedd Aquarium

Amy Williamson
Guest Engagement Assistant
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