Volunteering at the Butterfly House & Aquarium is an experience like none other in the area!

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Join the Adventure

Volunteering at the Butterfly House & Aquarium (BHA) is an experience like none other in the area! Volunteers come from all walks of life and commit to a schedule according to what best fits their availability. With over one million guests served since 2002, the BHA Volunteers play a vital role in daily operations. A completed application is your first step in joining our team of dedicated Volunteers.

The vision of this Volunteer Program is to raise up active community members who desire to practice good stewardship by serving holistically with people and in nature. Individuals in this program function as dedicated docents, diet prep assistants, and husbandry aides of the BHA and Great Plains Zoo (GPZ) by guiding individuals through their experiences in the facilities and demonstrating skilled care for people, nature, and animal species.

The Volunteer Program has a direct impact on how the organization pursues its mission and carries out its vision for the organization including education and conservation efforts. Volunteering provides a meaningful opportunity for individuals, and it also gives support to the organization's volunteer needs for growing the program and increasing the impact on our guests' experience.

Active Volunteer Benefits:

  • Learn and interact with beautiful tropical butterflies and fascinating ocean creatures
  • Socialize with guests from around the world
  • Uniform shirt and name badge
  • Ongoing, educational opportunities
  • 30% discount in the GPZ Gift Shop
  • 40% discount in the BHA Gift Shop
  • Admission and Membership benefits may apply
  • Receive a gift when you refer a friend to volunteer!

Volunteer Position Availabilities

At this time, the Butterfly House & Aquarium is especially looking for community members to commit to volunteering on Weekday afternoons and Weekends. If you have any questions about other week days, volunteering needs, or your availability, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@sdaquarium.org.

Conservatory Volunteer


Docents function as ambassadors in the different exhibit areas. They are responsible for engaging with guests, sharing educational information, and monitoring health and safety.

Individuals must be at least 16 years old to apply.

Individuals must commit to a regular schedule.

Minimum time commitment: 6 hours/month (in 3-hour blocks).

Docents receive additional, interpreter training.

Can assist with Field Trips as requested by the Education Department

Jackie Husbandry

Husbandry Aide

Husbandry Aides assist animal care staff members, behind-the-scenes, with animal food prep, husbandry tasks, and exhibit maintenance.

Individuals must be at least 18 years old to apply.

Individuals must commit to a regular schedule.

Minimum time commitment: 8 hours/month (in 4-hour blocks).

Husbandry Aides receive additional husbandry training.

Learn More

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Group Volunteering

Due to the nature of the needs at the BHA and GPZ campuses, the Volunteer Program is only able to accommodate group projects during the months of April through October. Group scheduling will open on March 15, 2023.

Group Guidelines to Note:

1. Age requirement: 12 years old. Groups with volunteers under 18 are expected to have adult supervision. (1 adult for every 8 youth required).

2. Volunteer groups must have a minimum of 5 people and no more than 30.

3. Groups should plan to serve a minimum of 1.5 hours and will not e scheduled longer than 3 hours.

4. Projects are available upon inquiry, and scheduling is worked out on a case-by-case basis with the Volunteer Coordinator. Groups must schedule at least 2 weeks in advance of their intended project date.

5. In the event of any weather that prevents outdoor service, groups should work to reschedule or may choose to cancel, as there are no projects inside the facility for groups.

Groups assist with needs outdoor.

Group leaders should contact the Volunteer Coordinator by emailing volunteer@sdaquarium.org or calling (605) 334-9466 ext.14 for more information/scheduling.

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Court-Appointed Community Service

The Butterfly House & Aquarium and Great Plains Zoo are not able to provide volunteering tasks to help individuals fulfill court-appointed volunteer hours. Please contact the Helpline Center for more information and opportunities about court-appointed community service.

Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator with further questions.

What the Volunteers Have to Say...

"(Volunteering) at the Butterfly House & Aquarium has taught me to take responsibility in leadership and has opened me up to opportunities in this field. I have learned a lot here, about myself, and how to push myself forward."


"One of my interests is wildlife conservation and awareness by being a voice and steward for the earth. Volunteering here provides a unique opportunity to combine these passions."


"It is a fun and exciting place to be! You meet so many people, and the staff and volunteers are great people who truly care about this crazy world we live in."



Let's Get in Touch

Have a question? Contact our Volunteer Coordinator:

Call 605-334-9466 ext. 14 or email volunteer@sdaquarium.org