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, and 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:
- Animal Encounters – helping staff supervise guest interactions at Giraffe Feeding and Children’s Zoo
- Animal Conservation Team – educating guests about wildlife conservation with opportunities to become trained in animal handling presentations
- 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, a negative TB test, 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 no longer accepting applications for our Adult Volunteer program. We will reopen the application period in August, though please monitor our webpage for any changes to this schedule.
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 and at least one adult chaperone for every 10 volunteers under the age of 18 is required.
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. All projects will be outdoors and most individual project days will only be available on weekday mornings.
- Outdoor Projects – Raking leaves, moving substrate (soil, sand, rocks, gravel), planting shrubs, flowers, etc.
- Special Events – Helping with 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 but offer your group the opportunity to interact with our Zoo guests. Projects will typically run on Fridays-Sundays during Zoo hours.
We do not have any current projects to fill. Please continue to check this webpage for updates!
Teen Volunteers – Summer Zoo Crew
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 and Requirements.
Thank you for your interest in the Summer Zoo Crew program. If you applied for the 2016 Summer Zoo Crew program, we will be contacting all candidates regarding the status of their application no later than March 15th. Although we are no longer accepting applications for the summer program, we encourage you to check our website during the summer for information about Fall Zoo Crew.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Teen Volunteers – 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 17th (optional), September 24th, November 5th, and December 3rd. In addition, they must also be able to volunteer from 8 am to 4 pm on at least one of the following Saturdays: October 15th, 22nd, or 29th.
We will be accepting applications for the 2016 Fall Zoo Crew program beginning in July 2016.
Other Teen Opportunities
For information on Alternative Teen Break, please visit the Teens page: http://www.houstonzoo.org/experiences/teens/
Visit the Houston Zoo Internship page for details and to apply.
Questions about any of our volunteer programs? Contact us at email@example.com