Tour Guide (A-E)

Requisition Number: 
Visitor Services
Job Status: 
As an ambassador of the Chicago Botanic Garden and its mission, the ideal candidate has a friendly, outgoing demeanor and exceptional communications and customer-relations skills. Part of Visitor Services, the tour guide narrates a 40-minute scripted tour to adults and children when driving a 76-passenger or 18-passenger open-air tram or walking on designated routes throughout the Garden. The tour guide also helps in a cashier role. In this capacity, the staff member also supports Garden events and exhibitions through a welcoming greeting, ticket sales, and line management control. Creating a positive and memorable experience for Garden visitors is a priority. This seasonal, part-time position requires an average of three days per week, typically 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., including one weekend day and some holidays/evenings. Hours scheduled may vary throughout the year.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • As both tram driver and guide, you will be trained to transport Garden visitors, staff, and volunteers along predetermined routes while simultaneously providing engaging, scripted, 40-minute tours.
  • Demonstrate both a high standard of safety for visitors and a strict adherence to the Chicago Horticultural Society's rules and regulations.
  • Maintain the cleanliness and appearance of the tram's interior and exterior, and monitor tram operating conditions.
  • As cashier, you will also be required to use a computer to sell and scan tickets for Garden events when scheduled for ticket sales/line management at the exhibition entry or ticket booths.
  • Remain knowledgeable about current Garden events, garden displays, and exhibitions, and proactively communicate and promote these to visitors.
  • Five-star customer service oriented, able to work independently, and willing to work as a part of a team.
  • Promote and maintain a professional appearance and demeanor while in uniform.
  • Work outdoors in all varieties of weather conditions and temperatures.
  • Assist the visitor operations manager and coordinator in other areas as requested.


Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired:

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Monitor CDC Covid compliance as it relates to Garden attractions and buildings.
  • Assist the Visitor Services coordinator and staff lead in other areas, as required.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Minimum age requirement of 18 years old.
  • A valid Illinois driver's license, driving record with no violations, and insurable by the Chicago Horticultural Society required; must be safety oriented. 
  • High school diploma or equivalent required. College degree preferred.
  • Articulate, with a strong command of the English language. Bilingual (Spanish) is a plus.
  • Available day, evening, weekend, and holiday hours.
  • Experience in the service and/or tour industry as a public speaker with a talent for engaging an audience of adults and children.
  • Knowledge of and interest in horticulture is preferred.
Physical Demands: 
Frequent standing, sitting, walking, bending, lifting, listening, keyboarding, and speaking, for long periods of time. Requirements for lifting, pushing, and pulling items up to 50 pounds. Exposure to the outdoor environment and to varied weather conditions.
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a M/F, Disabled, and Vet EEO/AA Employer.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or basis of disability, or any other federal, state, or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.