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Aquarist Assistant Volunteer

Volunteer Aquarists work closely with our professional staff, contributing to the care and maintenance of our diverse collection of marine and freshwater species. This role offers a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in animal husbandry, conservation, and public engagement within our dynamic aquarium environment.


  • Passion for aquatic life, conservation, and environmental stewardship.
    • Strong interest in gaining hands-on experience in animal husbandry and aquarium operations.
    • Excellent communication skills and the ability to interact effectively with colleagues and visitors.
    • Willingness to learn and follow established protocols for animal care and exhibit maintenance.
    • Ability to work collaboratively as part of a team in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.
    • Availability to commit to a regular volunteer schedule.    


1.  Animal Care Support:

  • Assist Aquarists with daily care tasks, including feeding, habitat maintenance, and water quality monitoring.
  • Participate in routine exhibit maintenance activities such as: scrubbing, vacuuming, and performing routine water changes.
  • Learn and follow established husbandry protocols to ensure the health and welfare of exhibit animals.

2.  Record Keeping and Documentation:

  • Maintain accurate records of animal care activities, including feeding schedules, health observations, and enrichment efforts.
  • Contribute to the preparation of reports, presentations, and educational materials related to volunteer activities and exhibit animals, as needed and able.

3.  Enrichment and Behavioral Observation:

  • Assist with the implementation of enrichment programs designed to stimulate natural behaviors and promote animal well-being.
  • Observe animal behavior and assist in documenting behavioral observations for record-keeping purposes.
  • Work collaboratively with Aquarists to develop and implement enrichment strategies tailored to exhibit animals’ needs.


  • Ability to lift and carry up to 60 pounds and perform physical tasks associated with exhibit maintenance and animal care.
  • Comfort working in wet and humid environments, bending, kneeling, and reaching to access exhibit tanks and equipment.


  • Shifts are offered seven days a week.
  • Shifts typically last 2-4 hours between 8:00am – 5:00pm, on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.


  • Volunteers are expected to commit to a period of 6 – 12 months.

Please note that the above list provides an overview of typical responsibilities for Volunteer Aquarists at the Tennessee Aquarium. It is intended to give applicants an idea of the role’s expectations but is not exhaustive. Additional duties may be assigned based on the aquarium’s needs and specific projects.

Tennessee Aquarium Volunteer Application

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