General Volunteer Info
Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Houston Zoo! Volunteers support every department of the zoo including animal care, education, and guest services. Volunteering at the zoo is a serious commitment; teen volunteer positions are typically for the summer or fall, while adult volunteers serve for at least a year – some volunteers have been with us for a decade or more! Group volunteers donate their time for special projects on a one-time basis.
There are three types of volunteer opportunities:
- Adult Volunteers
- Zoo Crew Teen Volunteers
- Group Volunteers
Join the team of over 300 adult volunteers (18 and older) who contribute their time to help make the Zoo a great place to visit.
Some of the opportunities for adults to volunteer include:
- Administrative – performing duties such as filing, shredding, and other office responsibilities
- Animal Encounters – helping staff supervise guest interactions at Giraffe Feeding and Children’s Zoo
- Docent – educating guests about our animals and animal conservation
- Education Program Assistant – working with staff to help teach classes and lead craft activities
- Guest Services – greeting guests, answering guest questions, and conducting surveys
- Keeper Aide – cleaning exhibits, preparing animal diets, and assisting with special animal projects
- Zoo Events – assisting staff with various conservation and community events throughout the year
Adult volunteer positions require an application process, background check, a $55 fee to offset uniform costs, and a commitment of one year of 60 hours of service (an average of 5 hours per month). Adult volunteer benefits include training and support, invitation to special volunteer appreciation events, discounts on concessions and Zoo membership, and the opportunity to develop new skills and make new friends!
We are not taking applications for our Adult Volunteer program at this time. We will begin accepting new applications again in January 2016.
The Houston Zoo welcomes corporate, school and other volunteer groups to help fulfill the Zoo’s project needs. All group volunteers must be age 13 or older. The Houston Zoo requires at least one adult chaperone for every 10 volunteers under the age of 18.
Group volunteers are typically scheduled for projects/shifts lasting up to four hours. Most Zoo projects can accommodate a group size of 25 or fewer. Please note that project availability is limited and requests should be received at least 30 days in advance. The exact project will vary due to the time of year and needs of the Zoo.
- Outdoor Projects – Raking leaves, moving substrate (soil, sand, rocks, gravel), planting shrubs, flowers, etc.
- Special Events – Helping with Zoo event setup, greeting guests, manning craft and activity tables, providing event support, cleanup etc. Major Zoo events include Party for the Planet (spring) and Zoo Boo (fall). The activities at each event vary greatly but offers your group the opportunity to interact with Zoo guests during fun and interactive events around the Zoo.
Current needs are limited but you may submit an application for consideration. Projects will all be outdoors.
Teen Volunteers – Summer Zoo Crew
The application period for the 2015 Summer Zoo Crew program has closed. We will be accepting applications for the 2016 Summer Zoo Crew program beginning January 1, 2016.
The Summer Zoo Crew Program is open to students ages 13-17 who seek to learn more about animals and conservation while gaining valuable job skills through a volunteer experience. The Zoo Crew program provides participants a sneak peek of the daily operations at the Houston Zoo while introducing them to the many different career options available in a zoological setting.
Video produced and edited by former Zoo Crew member, Sophie Worscheh
The 2016 Summer Zoo Crew program lasts ten weeks between May 31st and August 5th and is a major time commitment.
First Year Zoo Crew assist our Education Department in one of three areas: Theatrical Interpretation, Education, or Camp Zoofari. Please read the detailed 2016 First Year Summer Zoo Crew Description & Requirements.
Returning Zoo Crew who participated in the 2015 Summer Zoo Crew program may apply for senior positions in Theatrical Interpretation, Education, or Camp Zoofari in addition to designated animal sections. Please read the detailed 2016 Returning Zoo Crew Description & Requirements.
Questions? Contact us at email@example.com
Fall Zoo Crew Program
The Fall Zoo Crew Program runs from September through December and is a weekend volunteer program focusing on conservation and education for students ages 13-17. Fall Zoo Crew spend their time educating the public on Zoo grounds about endangered species and conservation at various fall events, such as Get Out & Play Day, Enrichment Day, and Zoo Boo. They may also have the opportunity to assist with fall and winter camps.
Successful Fall Zoo Crew applicants must be available to volunteer from 8 am to approximately 4 pm on the following Saturdays: September 26th, November 7th, and December 5th. In addition, they must also be able to volunteer from 8 am to 4 pm on at least one of the following Saturdays: October 17th, 24th, or 31st.2015 Fall Zoo Crew Description
The application period for the 2015 Fall Zoo Crew program has closed. We will be accepting applications for the 2016 Fall Zoo Crew program beginning in July 2016.
Information on internships can be found here.
Questions about any of our volunteer programs? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org