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The Niabi Zoo's Intern Program provides a truly unique opportunity to university students and recent college graduates to participate in animal care, conservation education and horticultural efforts at the Niabi Zoo. Interns will be able to expand their knowledge and experience necessary for today's job market in the many fields making up zoological, educational, and horticultural sciences. Internships can be the essential key to gaining employment in Zoos, Aquariums, and Botanical Gardens when coupled with a related Bachelor's degree.  

Intern positions are experience based and are therefore unpaid but offer a wide array of professional experience often unattainable through schooling alone.  Housing and transportation are the responsibility of the Intern. Internships can be part-time or full time, last a minimum of 12 weeks (or semester long), and are available for college credit (with prior approval). 

Intern AreasPlant-ID-sign.JPG

To learn more about our positions available, please download the intern description(s) for which you are interested:

Animal Care

Conservation Education



Application Procedure


College/University students and graduates who wish to apply for an internship should include the following in their application packet:
  • Intern Application (Click to download)
  • Cover letter that addresses the following:    
    1. Why you are interested in an internship
    2. Where you heard about the intern program 
    3. What you would like to gain from an internship 
    4. Highlights of your most applicable experience
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Copy of your current grade transcript  
Please send all materials as a single packet to:
Niabi Zoo Intern Program
Attn: Curator of Conservation and Education
13010 Niabi Zoo Road
Coal Valley, IL 61240

You may email scanned copies to or fax to (309) 799-5761
Application Deadlines:
Application packets may not be considered if received after the following dates for an internship during that time frame.  Typically, applications are considered three months prior to the deadline.  Offers may be made to candidates before the deadline.  Please, do not wait until the deadline to send in your materials.  The deadline is the last chance cutoff date.
Summer Session (May-August)...................April 7
Fall Session (September-December)............August 26
Winter/Spring Session (January-April)..........December 10
Selection Process:
Upon receipt of the completed Application Packet, candidates will be contacted for interview arrangements. During the interview, information will be gathered pertaining to experience, career interests, education, starting and ending dates, shirt size, and will review an Intern Job Description. Upon selection, candidates will receive an Internship Acceptance Letter from the Curator of Conservation and Education. Interns must sign and return the acceptance letter to be officially accepted in to the Niabi Zoo Intern Program. College credit is available for participating universities and must be arranged prior to the start of the internship.