Animal Exhibits Department Volunteers

Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

New York Aquarium Animal Exhibits Department

Behavioral Husbandry Division
The aquarium's Behavioral Husbandry Division works primarily with California sea lions. This division’s staff and volunteers also work closely with the keepers in the marine mammal sections of the Sea Cliffs Division. Behind the scenes, trainers teach the animals behaviors that focus on monitoring their health. This division’s volunteers are a vital part of the training team. We are confident that our volunteers will leave with skills to prepare them for the highly competitive field of marine mammal care.

Please note: Although the New York Aquarium is world renowned for its success in breeding beluga whales, our whales are currently on loan to the Georgia Aquarium, involved in a national Beluga Whale breeding program.

Conservation Hall and/or Explore the Shore
Individuals interested in caring for fish and aquatic invertebrates will find the volunteer programs at Explore the Shore or Conservation Hall a practical and rewarding experience. In these divisions, volunteers work with a variety of fresh and saltwater marine organisms, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and corals. Responsibilities include filter cleaning and maintenance, diet preparation and feeding, monitoring basic parameters such as temperature and salinity, new animal acclimation and quarantine, observation of breeding behaviors and general health, as well as the possibility of working with endangered species. Volunteers gain hands-on experience and a familiarity with the daily tasks of the professional aquarist.

Sea Cliffs
Sea Cliffs volunteers work with the widest variety of marine creatures, from aquatic mammals to birds, bony fish, invertebrates, and sharks. An attempt will be made to place volunteers in the areas they are most interested, but volunteers must be prepared to work in all Sea Cliffs areas. It has been our experience that this flexibility is beneficial to the volunteer, both in terms of widening one's experience and in developing new interests.


  • Biology or psychology background is preferred.
  • Previous experience in animal care is helpful.
  • Must be in good health and physical condition.
  • Public speaking experience is helpful.
  • Have a full understanding of and be able to apply basic math skills.


  • The volunteer must commit to the agreed upon day(s) for a period of no less than six months.
  • All volunteers must be dressed and ready to work beginning at 8:00 a.m. and will leave by 5:00 p.m., with an hour for lunch.
  • NOTE: Summer schedules may vary.

To apply, submit the completed Volunteer Applicant Personal Information form with a resume and cover letter to Roger Williams, the Volunteer Coordinator. You may apply to more than one division using the appropriate application. You should also indicate your availability for working as well as for interviews. When your papers are received, they will be forwarded to an appropriate division. If interested in your application, a division supervisor will contact you to arrange an interview. Please do not send your papers directly to any division of the Animal Exhibits Department.

The divisions of the Animal Exhibits Department are:

  • Behavioral Husbandry
  • Conservation Hall
  • Explore the Shore
  • Sea Cliffs

Send to:
Roger Williams, Volunteer Coordinator
New York Aquarium Animal Exhibits Department
Surf Avenue at West 8th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11224

Please Note:
No housing is provided to interns or volunteers.
Internships are unpaid and are arranged with colleges and universities on a case-by-case basis to meet the needs of their students. When applying for a summer position, application must arrive no later than the end of March.