Volunteers

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Washington Park Zoo!  

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The Washington Park Zoo welcomes enthusiastic volunteers who have a love for animals and a passion for serving the people of our community. Zoo volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and bring a variety of experience, knowledge, and skill to the Zoo's operations. Of course, no prior experience is necessary, we'll teach you what you need to know. Whether you have just a few hours each month to spare or are looking for a new avenue in life, there is a home for you at the Zoo.  

The Zoo relies on our volunteers to support our staff and mission of connecting people to each other and the natural world to promote understanding, appreciation, and conservation. Whether you are helping in education, special events, horticulture, construction, or with our keepers, volunteers make an impact every day. If you are looking for an incredibly rewarding long-term service opportunity, you have come to the right place!

NOTE: There is no animal handling or direct animal contact involved with any of our volunteer opportunities other than the internship program level.  Some volunteer program options may not be available for the health and safety of the animals and staff.  Lastly, new volunteers are not accepted during the off-season months from November to February.  Any applications that are submitted during that time will be held until March for review.  

Zoo Volunteer

This program has been designed to give volunteers the opportunity to learn about the zoo as they work their way up to a higher level of involvement.  Volunteers assist with daily operation tasks, such as cleaning the petting barn area, diet preparation, washing windows, grounds work, and special events.  Zoo Volunteers will have limited contact with the animal areas until they have completed 50 hours of volunteer time, then they are welcome to apply for the Keepers Aide program.

  • Time Requirement: Volunteers are permitted to make up their own time schedules - between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily but we have a minimum of 2 hours per shift.

  • Must work at least 20 hours a year to remain in "active" status.

  • Age Requirement: 18 years or older

ZooScaper

As a ZooScaper volunteer, you will assist with projects for the Horticultural Department. Projects range from light physical duty such as planting, weeding, mulching, and watering, to more physically challenging projects such as moving deadfall and clearing brush.  Opportunities are available March-November

  • Time Requirement: Volunteers are permitted to make up their own time schedules - between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily but we have a minimum of 2 hours per shift.

  •  ZooScapers program requires 20 hours of volunteer work each year in order to participate in the next year’s program. Various time commitments are available

  • Age Requirement: Youth volunteers 14 to 15 years may participate but must be accompanied by a parent volunteer at all times.

Special Events/Education

Maybe you do not want to do the dirty work, some volunteers only help with the special events: like Zoo Camp, Boo at the Zoo, Parade floats, etc... Various time commitments are available

  • Age Requirement: Youth volunteers must be at least 16 year to volunteer.

Special Skilled Volunteers

Do you have a special skill or talent that could help the zoo, such as an artist, office skills, carpenter, welder, or fundraiser?  We can use you too. 

  • Time Requirement: Volunteers are permitted to make up their own time schedules - between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Various time commitments are available

  • Age Requirement: Youth volunteers 14 to 15 years may participate but must be accompanied by a parent volunteer at all times.

Community Volunteers

The Washington Park Zoo also has volunteer opportunities for local schools, scouts, and other organizations that wish to do one-day or weekend group projects.  We enjoy engaging young people in age-appropriate service projects, but for safety, all volunteers must be at least 12 years of age on or before the date of service and be willing to work a full assigned shift.  Also for safety compliance, volunteers will not be allowed into the Zoo as a part of the group project with younger guests and some projects or events may require a higher age minimum.

Keeper Aide Volunteer

To qualify for this program you must either be a Zoo Volunteer who has completed 50 hours of experience time or have successfully completed the Washington Park Zoo Internship Program.

This program allows qualified volunteers to have a more hands-on experience assisting keepers with the cleaning, feeding, enrichment, maintenance of the birds, Red Barn mammals, and other smaller animals as well as educational interactions with zoo guests. Keeper Aides work under the direct supervision of zookeepers and at times in close proximity to animals, so a current negative T.B reading is required.

  • Time Requirement: Keeper Aides are permitted to work with the Assistant Director to schedule their service time - between 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, with a minimum of 2 hours per shift.

  • Must work at least 30 hours per year to remain in "active" status.

  • 18 years or older

Keeper Internship

Keeper Internship candidates must plan to attend or currently be in college and working towards a degree in biology, zoology, animal behavior, or another related field. Interns work under the direct supervision of the zoo staff and a research paper is required to successfully complete the program. Interns are involved in various aspects of animal care, including daily husbandry, diet preparation and delivery, exhibit maintenance, behavioral enrichment preparation, animal observations, operant conditioning, and educational interactions with Zoo guests. There are three sessions throughout the year and the program is limited to three to four students per session. Students are chosen based on the best applications. Since intern students work alongside keepers and have contact with the animals, they must provide the Zoo with a negative T.B. test reading before they can start the program. This is an experienced-based position and is not paid.

  • Time Requirement: The internship term is 12 weeks with a minimum of 16 hours per week or 4 weeks with a minimum of 40 hours per week (schedules may be flexible based on the candidate's availability)

  • Age Requirement: 18 years or older