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Sea Center Volunteer Program

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  Sea Center Volunteer Program
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Sea Center volunteers are a community of people comprised of all ages, backgrounds, and professional and student expertise. As a volunteer, you support the mission in a variety of ways, which include:

  • Inspiring and engaging the public through interactive science exhibits
  • Providing ocean science education as exhibit interpreters and education volunteers
  • Promoting ocean conservation by encouraging stewardship of the environment

DO YOU LOVE THE OCEAN?                                                                      If you have a passion for people, your community, and the conservation and stewardship of Santa Barbara’s local coastal waters and watersheds, then the Sea Center wants you! We are currently seeking volunteers interested in inspiring others to appreciate the amazing habitats and creatures that live in the Santa Barbara Channel. We wouldn’t be able to provide hands-on, marine science-based education without the help of our dedicated group of volunteers who assist in all areas of the Sea Center’s programs.

All new Sea Crew Volunteers begin as Exhibit Interpreters who meet, greet, and educate visitors during public visiting hours and from time to time assist with special events. Once you have completed our initial 4-month minimum commitment as an Exhibit Interpreter, advanced volunteer opportunities are available in the following areas:

  • Education Volunteers: Assist staff at one of three locations in the Sea Center when school groups visit or with interactive, educational field trip programs
  • Aquarist Assistant: Assist staff in helping to maintain the health of aquatic habitats, care for the animals, and educate the public about local marine species
  • Shark Interpreter: Educate the public about shark conservation and conduct supervised shark feedings
  • Nature Adventures: Assist with outreach education programs during the summer/winter/spring break camps
  • Outreach Assistant: Assist with outreach and education programs including Oceanology and Discovery Zone: including special events, fairs, and tidepooling activities
  • Office Administration: Assist Sea Center Staff with volunteer administration, outreach, advertising, marketing, and program management

To find out what the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is all about and how to get involved, please contact Volunteer Manager. Volunteers are required to attend a mandatory training course which includes two training sessions. Training sessions are generally held the first and second week of every month, excluding the month of December.

Volunteering at the Sea Center is a rewarding experience with ongoing opportunities to learn more about our local marine life, meet new people, and promote the conservation of our oceans!

For volunteer program details contact:
Volunteer Manager: Shalina Noakes
Tel: 805-962-2526 ext. 104


  • Volunteers must be 14 years of age or older. Volunteers under 14 may volunteer with a parent; please inquire about our family volunteer program for more details
  • Volunteers must commit to one 3 hour shift / week for a minimum of 4 months, equating to 48 hours of service.
  • Volunteers must complete a volunteer application and emergency contact form
  • All applicants 18 years or older must pass a background check - volunteers must be fingerprinted & attend a volunteer interview
  • Volunteers must attend the two-part training session offered the first and second week of every month, excluding December
  • Volunteers must pay a $25 program fee which supplies the volunteer uniform

Unfortunately, we do not have any short-term or single-opportunity volunteer positions. Please note that all volunteer positions are unpaid.

The Sea Center is open from 10:00–5:00 PM seven days a week. We are currently seeking volunteers for weekday shifts (Monday-Friday).
Exhibit Interpreter shifts are generally broken down into AM / MID / PM shifts:

  • AM shift: 9:45 AM–12:45 PM
  • MID shift: 12:30–3:30 PM
  • PM shift: 2:30–5:00 PM



  • Advanced monthly volunteer training opportunities
  • Special field trips, events, and parties
  • Research cruises, holiday events, potlucks, and much more
  • Weekly updates and newsletters
  • Free admission to both the Sea Center and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
  • Guest passes for family and friends
  • 15% discount in the Sea Center Gift Shop and 10% discount at the Museum Gift Shop
  • Savings on educational programs and classes
  • Annual volunteer appreciation and recognition events
  • Opportunity to meet new people and make new friends!
  • Submit the Volunteer Application to Volunteer Manager. 
  • Once application is reviewed by the Volunteer Manager, you will be contacted about attending the next Volunteer Training Course.
  • If over 18, schedule an appointment for a background check and fingerprinting.
  • Complete TR1 and TR2: See 2016 Training Schedule for dates.
  • Schedule a volunteer interview, turn in paperwork, and schedule your first shift.
  • Get started! Train with interpretive staff and shadow an experienced volunteer

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