Program Interpreter

Great Lakes Aquarium
Jobs - Part Time & Seasonal
Duluth, MN


DEPARTMENT: Learning and Engagement

REPORTS TO: Visitor Engagement Manager

SALARY TYPE: Part-time; up to 25/week

START DATE: October 2018



The mission of Great Lakes Aquarium (GLA) is to “inspire people to explore their connection to Lake Superior and waters of the world.” GLA is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization.

Previously known as Lake Superior Center, Great Lakes Aquarium has been located on the Duluth Waterfront since 2000. The Aquarium features animals and habitats found within the Great Lakes Basin as well as animals from other freshwater ecosystems such as the Amazon River. It features a Global gallery designed to interpret marine (saltwater) animals and habitat. Shipwrecks Alive! opened in the Global gallery in July 2014. Unsalted Seas, home to North America’s largest sturgeon touch tank, opened in a new gallery on the bay in 2016.

Great Lakes Aquarium provides on-site and outreach educational programming to learners of all ages. Daily interpretive programs give guests the opportunity to learn more about resident animals while watching them eat, play or interact with our staff. In addition, classes and formal programming are provided to more than 10,000 pre-K-12 grade students each year. Teacher workshops and visiting speakers provide enriching experiences for adults. The facility may also be rented for receptions, proms and other special events.



The Program Interpreter is responsible for presenting information to Aquarium visitors during five daily programs. Program Interpreters also provide support to our Animal Encounter Ambassadors at three touch pools exhibits. They play a prominent role as a visible and interactive presence between the Learning and Engagement Department and guests. Applicants should have a strong interest in animals, ecology and/or informal education. Understanding of or the willingness to learn about Great Lakes issues, cultural and natural history is essential. This position requires handling and feeding of live animals including reptiles, fish, insects and mammals.


As part of the Learning and Engagement team, Program Interpreters may be called upon to assist with setting up or taking down equipment used for camp, classes or special events. Interpreters also provide support greeting visiting school, youth and other groups.


This position requires working a mix of weekdays, evenings, weekends and holidays. Great Lakes Aquarium is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., with occasional after hours special events.



  1. Deliver visitor programs and convey information consistent with Great Lakes Aquarium’s mission and conservation messaging.
  2. Approach and interact with guests in a welcoming, enthusiastic manner.
  3. Act as a goodwill guide by answering visitor questions.
  4. Set up and breakdown equipment necessary for interpretive programs and activities.
  5. Maintain overall cleanliness and organization of presentation areas and prop storage.
  6. Learn proper animal handling procedures and skills to present these animals in front of the public.
  7. Must ensure health of animals during public programs and provide high level of guest safety.
  8. Communicate with visitors regarding daily events and special programming.
  9. Keep supervisor informed of any ideas or ways to improve existing equipment or supplies.
  10. Refer safety concerns to appropriate Aquarium staff.
  11. All other job related duties as assigned by supervisor.



To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential function satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check.

  1. Must be friendly and courteous.
  2. Must be able to communicate effectively in noisy, crowded conditions.
  3. Must be comfortable with public speaking to groups of 10 – 100 guests and willing to use a wireless microphone.
  4. Must be comfortable approaching visitors when there is a need to enforce GLA policies.
  5. Must be able to approach visitors and engage them in conversation.
  6. Must be able to handle live animals.
  7. Must be able to present material and answer questions in a clear and understandable manner and be willing to refer questions you are unable to answer to other Learning and Engagement staff.
  8. Must be able to do light cleaning.
  9. Must be able to work safely around animals and their habitats.



  • Bachelor degree in Education, Humanities, Environmental Education, Natural Sciences or related field. 
  • Minimum of one year experience working in an education setting.
  • Experience speaking in front of groups of all sizes.
  • Animal handling experience is preferred, but not required.
  • Current CPR and First Aid certification or ability to certify.



The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an interpreter to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals to perform the essential functions.


While performing the duties of this job, the interpreter will be required to work in the Aquarium exhibit space. Individuals are required to use hands to handle or feel objects. This position requires the ability to talk and hear. The noise level in the work environment is moderate to high.



Please complete the online application available at


Questions? Contact Alexis Berke at 218-740-2013 or e-mail to

Great Lakes Aquarium recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting its mission.  We are committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds. Great Lakes Aquarium provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.