Youth Exhibit Guide Program

Science-Driven Summer Volunteer Opportunity

  • Duration

    Multiple Days

  • Grades

    10 - 12

  • Price

    $40 materials fee (if accepted)

  • Where

    Main Aquarium Campus


The National Aquarium Youth Exhibit Guide Program gives local high school students the opportunity to spend a summer volunteering at the Aquarium, working with staff in our exhibits and sharing in the Aquarium's unique mission and magic. This program provides students with a realistic look at careers in marine biology, valuable work experience and an opportunity to connect with other students who share similar interests.

To prepare for these roles, attendance at orientation, training and all scheduled shifts during the program's first week is mandatory. The intensive volunteer training courses include the study of exhibits and their inhabitants, Chesapeake Bay, conservation, interpretation techniques and customer service skills. Students will not work directly with animals except for at the Living Seashore exhibit.

Youth Exhibit Guides are also provided with free parking at LAZ Inner Harbor Garage (with alternative support for students using public transportation); a t-shirt and other uniform gear (students must supply their own khaki shorts/pants); and an Aquarium ID badge that must be returned at the program's end.

Program Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Have successfully completed ninth grade by June 2024.
  • Be environmentally aware.
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in marine biology, environmental science and related fields.
  • Enjoy interacting with, talking to and assisting guests of all ages.
  • Be able to complete the entirety of the summer program, including attending all orientation and training sessions, completing 12 shifts over six weeks and meeting or exceeding 85 service hours.

Program Schedule

  • Youth Exhibit Guide orientation will take place on May 19, 2024, from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Training sessions will be held June 24 to June 28, 2024, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
  • The Youth Exhibit Guide program lasts from July 5 to August 15, 2024; guides will be scheduled for two 5-hour shifts per week. Morning shifts will be from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; afternoon shifts will be from 12:30-5:30 p.m.

Please note that guides must attend at least 10 shifts across five weeks; "stacking" shifts is not allowed to ensure consistent shift coverage throughout the summer. If a student needs to miss a shift, they must arrange for a substitute from within the group to cover and inform supervisors of any shift changes.

Summer 2024 How To Apply

Applications for the summer 2024 session are currently closed. Applications for summer 2025 will open in December 2024.

Qualified applicants will be invited to the Aquarium for in-person interviews led by members of the Volunteer team and current Youth Exhibit Guide participants. Interviews will be held on February 24, February 25, March 2 and March 3, 2024. Applicants will be notified of interview times via email on or around February 5, 2024. Attendance at interviews is required to be considered for acceptance into the program.

Students will be notified of their selection within two weeks of their interview. Some students may be offered a spot on a waitlist to accommodate changing schedules and availability.

If accepted into the program, participants will be asked to provide a $40 fee for course registration and materials. Need-based scholarships are available.


Volunteering at the Aquarium provides a unique learning opportunity and valuable work experience with a wide range of benefits. As a guide in the galleries, you will enjoy:

  • A realistic look at careers in marine biology and other science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) fields. Exceptional performance could result in eligibility for continuation in the program during the school year.
  • An opportunity to fulfill your school's community service requirements.
  • A chance to meet new friends with shared interests.
  • An array of marine science training classes.
  • Social opportunities and activities.
  • Staff discounts and privileges.
  • Two general admission tickets upon successful completion of the program.
  • A fun and unforgettable summer!


Please email with any questions.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice

The National Aquarium is dedicated to creating an environment that is inclusive, equitable and accessible to people from all backgrounds. We cannot successfully change the way humanity cares for our ocean planet without connecting with and appreciating the broad diversity of identities, backgrounds, experiences and perspectives that make our community unique.

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