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; 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 two types of volunteer opportunities: Adult 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 and to save animals in the wild! Our adult volunteers are provided 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!
Some of the opportunities for adults to volunteer include:
Animal Encounters – helping staff supervise guest interactions at Giraffe Feeding and Children’s Zoo
Interpretation – educating guests about the individual animals here at the zoo and what we are doing to save them in the wild
Education Program Assistant – helping staff to help teach classes and lead activities
Guest Services – greeting guests, answering questions, and helping to ensure their day is amazing
Keeper Aide – volunteer alongside our keeper staff and assist with habitat cleaning, enrichment, diet preparation, and more!
Zoo Events – assisting staff with various conservation and community events throughout the year
Animal Handler – help our guests get up close and personal with one of our ambassador animals
How to apply:
We accept applications during our three recruitment periods – March, July, and December
Approved applicants are contacted for an interview
Once a volunteer is accepted there is a $55 charge for background check, uniform, and name tag. If you have lived internationally, there may be additional charges associated with your background check.
There is a 60 hour yearly commitment (an average of 5 hours per month)
Our Spring application is now open!
Application closes Friday, March 31 at 4PM
Interview dates (by invitation only, we’ll contact you): April 9-21
Orientation (if accepted as a volunteer): May 21 or May 27
Before applying, please make sure you are free to attend an interview during this time period and can attend one of the orientation dates. ALL applicants will be contacted via email in early April regarding the status of their application; monitor your email (including spam folders) for updates!
We are specifically looking for those interested in volunteering at events or in an educational capacity but will consider those interested in other roles.
We usually open our volunteer application three times per year – spring, fall, and winter. Please check back later if you are unable to volunteer at this time but are interested in future opportunities.
Visit the Houston Zoo Internship page for details and to apply.
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.
Most projects will be outdoors and many individual project days will only be available on weekday mornings.
- Outdoor Projects – Raking leaves, moving substrate (soil, sand, rocks, gravel), planting shrubs, flowers, etc. Projects may be available 7 days a week.
- Special Events – Helping with event setup, greeting guests, manning craft and activity tables, providing event support, cleanup etc.; most activities will involve interacting with our Zoo guests so be ready to engage in conversation! Projects will typically run on Fridays-Sundays during Zoo hours (example: Zoo Boo).
Our Teen Programs are growing! Please visit the Teens webpage for new information: http://www.houstonzoo.org/experiences/teens/
Questions about our volunteer programs? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org