Mobile menu
Conservation at the Zoo
Sponsor an Event
Adopt an Animal


What do Volunteers do?

Volunteer positions require a regular time commitment of once per week or every other week, depending on the position. Volunteering at the zoo requires developing a unique set of skills through regular practice and thus a regular commitment. If you are unable to do so, we also have Special Event volunteers (see below).   

Zoo Naturalist - Help educate zoo guests about conservation, animal behavior, and nature. Naturalists attend trainings on Zoo History, Interpretation Skills, and content trainings for Oceans, Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, Reptiles, and Biodiversity. Whether in front of an animal habitat or leading a tour, these positions are essential to connecting people to animals and nature.
  • Animal Handler - After becoming a Zoo Naturalist, volunteers can be trained to handle the Zoo's Ambassador Animals for on-grounds presentations and to assist with off-grounds outreach programs. Handlers get to work with small reptiles, mammals, amphibians, invertebrates, and birds. This is something to look forward to as you become an experienced volunteer. 

Animal Care - assist zoo keepers in maintaining animal habitats, preparing animal diets, and behavioral enrichment. Be prepared to get dirty and work in all weather conditions. Since the well being of our animals are dependent on our animal care staff, volunteers in this area must be extremely dependable and able to lift 30 lbs.

Education - Assist our educators at Zoo Camps, Classes, Field Trips, Zoo Snoozes, and Zoo Tot classes. Help set up and organize activities as well as oversee guest participation. 

Horticulture - Like gardening? Get down in the dirt to help us maintain our flower beds, pollinator gardens, and planting areas. 

Special Events - Join us to help with games and activities at special events such as Pints for Preservation, Boo at the Zoo, Endangered Species Day, Earth Day, Pollinator Day, World Giraffe Day, Snow Leopard Day, Breakfast with Santa and many more! 

Interested in Volunteering? Laura-at-Gibbon-square.jpg

Adults (18 and older) should complete a volunteer application and attend a Volunteer Information Session (VIS) to learn further details about the process of volunteering, the time commitment, and arranging an interview. If you are in high school, check out our Junior Zoo Keeper Program. If you are in college, check out our Internship Program

The next VIS will be scheduled on an individual basis at the Zoo Education Center (to the right of the zoo gate)

If you are unable to attend the VIS above, please contact for additional dates. 

Selection Process: New volunteers must fill out an application, attend a volunteer information session, go through a volunteer interview and be accepted into the program, get a TB test at their doctor, go through a National Criminal History check, attend a volunteer orientation and training classes prior to volunteering.

Please feel free to contact 309-799-3482 ext 225 or email for questions.

To complete volunteer application, select the link below:

Volunteer Application


For current Volunteers, access the Volunteer Information Center