Opening April 30th for our 2024 season! (dismiss)
Junior Zookeeper - Application Period

About our program

We are now accepting applications for the 2024 program until the April 3 deadline.

What does it take to be a Junior Zookeeper?

  • Have a passion for animals and nature, and a desire to take action for conservation of species and habitats.
  • Be a student between 14-17 years of age (must be 14 by the application deadline).
  • Be willing to receive training (see below for days), take direction well, be upbeat and willing to share your passion for animals with others.
  • Be available and committed to volunteering at least 4 hours per week throughout the summer (10 weeks – based on school break).

Have questions?

It is highly recommended that all new candidates view the Junior Zookeeper Information Video below. It includes a complete overview of the program, its requirements, position descriptions, perks of the program, and more. It should answer any questions you may have about the program.

Selection Process

Applicants will receive an email for an interview on one of the scheduled dates for a specific time that falls within the listed time frame.

  • Interviews will be virtual using Zoom
  • Approximately 20 minutes
  • Answer 7 questions
  • Give a 2 minute presentation (preparation details will be provided with interview appointment email).

The virtual interview dates are:

  • Tuesday, April 9, 4pm-6:45pm
  • Thursday, April 11, 4pm-6:45pm
  • Saturday, April 13, 9:15am-12pm

Selection of Junior Zookeepers will be announced through email by April 14.

Program Fee

There is a fee to cover the purchase of the Junior Zookeeper uniform shirt and training costs. The fee for this program is $50 and is due on the first day of training and is non-refundable.


All selected candidates are required to complete all 4 training sessions and should consider whether or not you are available before submitting your application. Alternative dates will not be offered. If you cannot attend training, unfortunately, you cannot be a Junior Zookeeper this year.

If selected, candidates must complete 2 on-line and 2 in-person training courses for a total of 4 trainings. Note: there are 2 opportunities to attend trainings 3 and 4, but candidates only need to select one of each.

  • Training 1: On-line
  • Training 2: On-line
  • Training 3 – Option 1: Saturday, April 20, Noon-4 p.m.
  • Training 3 – Option 2: Saturday, April 27, Noon-4 p.m.
  • Training 4 – Option 1: Saturday, May 4, Noon-4 p.m.
  • Training 4 – Option 2: Saturday, May 11, Noon-4 p.m.

How do I apply to be a Junior Zookeeper?

Before you apply:

  • Acquire a letter of recommendation from a teacher or non-family member to upload a digital copy to your on-line application.
  • Write a short essay up between 250-300 words (3 paragraphs) and upload a digital copy to your on-line application.
  • The New Applicant essay should answer the following:
    1. If given the opportunity, what do you hope to gain from your experience volunteering at the Niabi Zoo?
    2. Describe any experience you have had with animals (working with, caring for pets, etc.)
    3. Explain any experiences you have had dealing with the public.
    4. What role do you think Zoos play and why do they matter?
  • The Returner essay should answer the following:
    1. What did you learn from your previous experience as a JZK?
    2. How can you improve your performance?
    3. What you hope to achieve this year?
    4. Why is communicating conservation messaging important?


  • Due Date: Submit your on-line application, recommendation letter, and essay no later than April 3 (preferably sooner).
  • New applicants will complete a full application process. Click the top button below to apply.
  • Returners are those who have previously served as a Junior Zookeeper will complete an update application process. Click the bottom button below to apply.