Home > Programs, Volunteer Opportunities > New York Aquarium Docent Opportunities

New York Aquarium Docent Opportunities

Become a docent – also known as an exhibit interpreter – at the New York Aquarium and help staff exhibits, teach visitors about marine conservation, and assist at events and education programs! As a docent, you will have the opportunity to meet individuals from around the world and join a family of fellow volunteers, staff, and wildlife experts who share a passion for our natural world.

The Docent Program is open to anyone age 15 and older: high school students, college/grad students, and adults.

Docent responsibilities include:

  • Speaking with aquarium visitors and giving exhibit chats using biological artifacts and other visual aids
  • Assisting with the development and implementation of special events
  • Staffing information and craft tables during special events on-site and off-site
  • Assisting Education Department instructors with school and family programs
  • Teaching visitors how to interact with horseshoe crabs, sea stars, and other animals at our touch pools
  • Conducting short marine conservation programs on the Coney Island Boardwalk outside of the aquarium entrance
Significant support for this program is provided by National Grid.


To get involved, print and fill out an application. You must be at least 15 years or older to apply. Admission to the program is competitive. After an interview and orientation, accepted candidates must complete an intensive 7-day training course (see training schedule below).

Applications are being accepted now for the summer, academic year, and year-long docent opportunities. The training includes sessions on marine science, public speaking skills, and activities designed to foster good relations among docents. Applicants under age 18 must have a parent sign their application form and a teacher fill out the recommendation form.

  • Summer Teen Docents (July 2, 2013–September 2, 2013)
    Open to high school students, ages 15–18. Participants must volunteer two full days (6½ hours/day) per week at minimum, in order to complete a total of 120 service hours and 5 education hours. Days are flexible.
  • Academic Year Teen Docents (September 15, 2013–June 30, 2014)
    Open to high school students, ages 15–18. Participants must volunteer once every other week during volunteer shifts in the mornings (9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.), afternoons (1:00–5:00 p.m., weekends only), or full days (9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.), totaling 150 service hours and 5 education hours.
  • Adult Docents (1 year from the start date)
    Open to those out of high school, aged 18 years and older. Participants must volunteer either once a week during volunteer shifts in the mornings (9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.) or afternoons (1:00–5:00 p.m., weekends only), OR full days (9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.) once every other week, for 1 year, in addition to completing 5 education hours.

Application Process & Training Sessions

Applications are accepted each year from March 15–May 18, until 4:00 p.m on the 18th. Late, incomplete, or illegible applications will not be considered. An orientation and interview are mandatory. The NY Aquarium will call you to schedule an interview after they receive your application. Once accepted into the docent program, you will be required to attend the 7-day training courses, which take place from 10:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m. each day:

Summer Training Course
For summer and year-long docents
 Fall Training Course
For academic-year and year-long docents
Saturday, June 22, 2013  Saturday, August 17, 2013
Sunday, June 23, 2013  Sunday, August 18, 2013
Thursday, June 27, 2013  Saturday, August 24, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013  Sunday, August 25, 2013
Saturday, June 29, 2013  Saturday, September 7, 2013
Sunday, June 30, 2013  Sunday, September 8, 2013
Monday, July 1, 2013  Saturday, September 14, 2013

Download the application.
Download the teacher recommendation form.


If you have any questions, please call the volunteer office at (718) 265-3450, Saturday through Thursday, between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or email nyadocent@wcs.org.

  1. Domonique Saunder
    May 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I Would Like To Know How Can I Apply ?

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