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Seattle Aquarium

Marine science interpreter

Marine science interpreter


Posted:                       Open to all internal and external applicants.

Reports to:                 Interpretation coordinator.

Status:                        Full-time, hourly/non-exempt, benefitted.

Hours of work:           Tuesday–Saturday schedule. Specific shift times vary and include day and evening shifts. Flexibility in scheduling desired; some evenings are to be expected in support of programs and events.

Date needed:             ASAP, with target start date of March 2022.

Posting expires:        Open until filled; priority given to candidates who apply by end of day February 12, 2022.


About the Seattle Aquarium:

The Seattle Aquarium is a respected authority on Puget Sound, the Salish Sea and the world’s one ocean. Our passionate staff increases awareness and drives the change needed to preserve and protect our marine environment through a variety of channels, including a compelling habitat experience and engaging daytime and evening events; conservation education programs for people of all ages and backgrounds; community outreach to marginalized populations; research that advances understanding of animals in our care and their counterparts in the wild; advocacy and policy work; an award-winning volunteer program; strong and consistent marketing efforts; and more.

We’re noted for our collaborative, communicative and team-oriented working environment. Our values, developed in conjunction with our staff, include commitments to adopting and promoting sustainable practices; creating awe-inspiring experiences; constantly learning and improving; fostering an inclusive community; maintaining scientific credibility through evidence-based practices; and honoring our unique place by using our location and history as a lens for larger understanding.

Proudly accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we’re the eighth-largest aquarium in the U.S. by attendance and we welcome over 850,000 people through our front doors each year. Guided by our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, we’ve developed a master plan to substantially increase in size and impact by opening a new habitat building, the Ocean Pavilion. Our current annual budget is $20 million.

Position overview:

Be a part of a mission-driven organization! The Seattle Aquarium aims to engage all people and communities that live and work along the shores and in the watersheds of the Salish Sea to meet our mission—Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment—with an understanding that “our” means everyone’s marine environment.

The Aquarium is looking for a full-time, benefitted marine science interpreter to join the Visitor Engagement team. Marine science interpreters are the leads in the habitats at the Seattle Aquarium. We oversee the interpretation volunteers, lead volunteer enrichments and interpret the habitats to Aquarium visitors both informally and during formal interpretive presentations.

This position includes daytime, special event and evening event programming. Total allocation of job responsibilities includes approximately 75% volunteer supervision/presentations and 25% project/administrative work.

Essential functions:

  • Supervise interpretation volunteers, including daily enrichments, and ensure the habitat areas are covered with volunteers. Provide training of animal content and interpretive approach for volunteers and basic Aquarium knowledge.

  • Prepare and deliver formal (on microphone) interpretive talks to Aquarium visitors and school/tour groups. This includes mastery of interpretation talks—in all areas of the Aquarium—including marine mammal habitats which are located outdoors.

  • Interpret Aquarium exhibits to visitors on an informal, one-on-one basis, including the use of and being stationed at a cart during interpretation shifts.

  • Develop and execute hands-on activities for Aquarium visitors for daily and event use. This includes projects as assigned by the manager or supervisor in coordination with the yearly event calendar.

  • Prepare and deliver interpretive dive presentations, including being responsible for dive safety as a dive tender (additional training will be provided).

  • Coordinate and communicate openly and in a timely fashion with coworkers from all Aquarium departments to ensure the highest level of visitor experience. This includes making sure staff are aware of daily logistics and any challenges affecting floor interpretation. This can be done via email, person-to-person communication, phone or text.

  • Maintain flexibility and ability to cover shifts and assignments for others when they’re out unexpectedly.

  • Maintain an awareness of self, co-workers, volunteers and visitors while on the floor.

  • Use public speaking skills to interpret and convey natural history and conservation issues effectively with the public in both formal and informal settings.

  • Co-facilitate new volunteer training and lead continuing education training classes (Aquaversities).


Additional responsibilities:

  • Adhere to Visitor Engagement best practices and guidelines.

  • Adhere to Seattle Aquarium’s S.A.L.I.S.H. values.

  • Serve as a customer service liaison through daily contact with visitors by providing information and answering questions.

  • Act as a role model for compliance with all safety protocols.

  • Perform some administrative work, such as record-keeping for animal care or volunteer activities, including keeping the volunteer office updated with volunteer attendance and performance.

  • Ensure the safety of animals, employees, and the visiting public from injury or mishap.

  • Assist with maintenance of props, habitats and office/lounge spaces.

  • Other projects as assigned.


Skills, abilities and other requirements:

  • Excellent oral, presentation and written communication skills.

  • Excellent leadership abilities, willingness to take charge and ability to work independently as primary interpretation staff.

  • Knowledge of marine science and conservation.

  • Ability to convey information about marine science and conservation to the public with flexibility, strong listening skills and respect for learners’ prior knowledge and experiences.

  • Respect for and appreciation of volunteers; ability to handle a variety of situations that may arise with volunteers and the public with flexibility and empathy.

  • Strong organizational and time management skills.

  • Familiarity with MS Office programs, including Word, Excel, Outlook and Teams. Familiarity with or ability to learn volunteer databases (Volgistics).

  • Ability to assess priorities in a rapidly changing work environment—shifting gears comfortably or when needed to make decisions and act without having the total picture.

  • Team player with a positive sense of humor.

  • Strive to incorporate the Aquarium values into your daily activities to create an inclusive and equitable learning environment full of awe-inspiring moments that honor our unique location and history.

Experience, education and certifications: We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education to meet minimum requirements.

  • B.A./B.S. degree: education, biology, environmental science, or related field desired.

  • Two years of experience interpreting exhibits at an aquarium, zoo, science center, nature center or park.

  • Experience working with a public audience and school or tour groups.

  • Experience working in formal and/or informal education settings.

  • Experience working with volunteers.

Working conditions:

  • A flexible schedule is required on a regular basis; must be willing to work days, evenings, nights, weekends and holidays based on seasonal programming and third-party events.

  • Ability to speak to and direct large groups.

  • Ability to stand for periods of up to eight hours while on the floor supervising volunteers.

  • Ability to work in various weather conditions with regular work done outside year-round.


Pay and benefits:

$21.00–$23.00/hour ($43,680–$47,840 annually), depending on experience. Please include pay expectations in your materials. Full-time staff are eligible for Seattle Aquarium’s comprehensive benefits package to include medical, vision, dental, employer funded health reimbursement account, medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts, life insurance, long-term disability, 403b retirement fund with employer match, access to a subsidized ORCA pass, a Family Plus membership and generous paid time off.



How to Apply

How to apply: The Seattle Aquarium is a progressive, equal-opportunity employer that values a diverse workforce. One of our core values is fostering an inclusive community and we want our staff to reflect our community. To that end, we encourage diverse candidates to apply, including but not limited to Black, Indigenous and People of Color applicants and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Interested candidates should upload a résumé and cover letter to our online application in order to be considered. Application review will begin immediately.

Please let us know if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for this job by emailing us at

Note: Must pass a background check upon job offer to be eligible for this position.

*Regarding COVID-19:

Open daily, the Aquarium prioritizes health and safety for our staff and visitors, embracing science to guide our operations. Staff are required to wear face masks while working on-site and maintain physical distance during work hours. In addition, we maintain high standards of cleanliness and all high-touch surfaces (like windows, railings, restrooms and elevators) are continuously cleaned.

In alignment with King County’s current COVID-19 vaccine health order, all Aquarium staff and volunteers must provide proof of vaccination or approved medical or religious exemption by date of hire. If you have questions about this policy or for information regarding the exemption process, please contact the Human Resources department at

Please note, the marine science interpreter position has been modified to meet our current operations. In the long term, this position is also required to perform the following duties.

  • Provide regular announcements encouraging visitors to wear a mask at all times and adhere to safety precautions.

  • Help with crowd control, wayfinding and visitor flow through the Aquarium.

  • Support Seattle Aquarium COVID-19 policies with visitors and volunteers by modeling and/or explaining proper procedures.


We anticipate the following recruiting schedule for those candidates who are selected for consideration. The following dates are preliminary and subject to change. We will work with candidates to set interviews that work for all involved. If hired, relocation assistance is not available.

  • Application deadline: open until filled.  

  • Priority given to applications received by February 12.

  • Application review by February 15.

  • First interview, using Zoom: complete by March 5.

  • On-site interview: complete March 12.

Start date: March 30 (ideally).

Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101

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