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General Volunteer Info

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Houston Zoo! Volunteers work in 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, intern positions for the summer, spring or fall semesters, while adult volunteers serve for at least a year – some volunteers have been with us for a decade or more!

There are four types of volunteer opportunities:

  • Adult Volunteers
  • Internships
  • Zoo Crew Teen Volunteers
  • Group Volunteers

Questions? Contact us at

Adult Volunteers

Join the team of over 300 adult volunteers who contribute their time and 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.

Paid Internship – Collegiate Conservation Program

The application period for the Collegiate Conservation Program has closed.  Please check back for future paid internship opportunities.


The Houston Zoo offers unpaid internships for current or recent college students. Internships are available in most animal sections, as well as horticulture, education, marketing, conservation, and other areas. Internships are offered for spring, summer, and fall semesters, but not all areas will have positions available during all semesters.

Intern Group Picture - Summer 2013

Internship Requirements

  • All applicants must be at least 18 years old as of the internship start date and currently enrolled in college (or within 1 year of college graduation at application due date).
  • Pay a one time $55 fee to offset the cost of your Intern uniform shirt, processing your application, a name tag, continuing education materials, and social events.
  • All applicants must be a current or recent student in a field related to the desired placement.
  • The minimum time commitment is 200 hours during the semester. Specific hours may be scheduled to meet the needs of both the intern and the department.
  • Interns must complete any necessary training specific to their position.
  • Interns will prepare a 15-20 minute presentation at the end of the semester. This presentation will be shared with other interns and Zoo staff. A copy of the project or presentation outline will be retained by Zoo staff as a record.
  • Any applicable university or college credit (or additional requirements) must be arranged by the student through his/her institution and approved by Zoo staff in advance.
  • All housing and transportation must be arranged by the intern.
  • Certain Animal Care Interns are required to provide proof of a negative TB test on their first day.
  • All applicants must provide a cover letter, a current resume, and one letter of recommendation from either a professor or previous employer.
  • Completion of an internship does not guarantee full-time or part-time job placement at the Houston Zoo.

Please click the following link to learn more about each of our available internship opportunities and to download each section’s job description:

pdf_iconInternship Descriptions and Requirements

Application Timelines:

Summer 2016 Application Open:  December 1, 2015 – March 1, 2016 (will close at 4 PM)

Program Dates:
Fall 2015 – September 6, 2015 through December 18, 2015
Spring 2016 – January 17, 2016 through April 30, 2016
Summer 2016 – May 16, 2016 through August 26, 2016

The application period for the Spring 2016 internship session is now closed. For those who applied, select candidates will be interviewed between November 17-30. Offers to successful applicants will be extended beginning December  2.

Questions? Contact us at

Paid internships are occasionally posted depending on funding. Visit the Houston Zoo careers page for any available paid opportunities.

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

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.

Group Volunteers

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.

Project Categories

  • Outdoor Projects – Raking leaves, moving substrate (soil, sand, rocks, gravel), planting shrubs, flowers, etc. Each project will vary depending on the needs of the Zoo and the interest of the group.
  • Special Events – Helping with Zoo event setup, greeting guests, manning craft and activity tables, providing event support, cleanup etc. Major Zoo events include Earth Day in the spring and Zoo Boo in the fall. The activities at each event vary greatly, but each one offers your group the opportunity to interact with Zoo guests during fun and interactive activities around the Zoo.

Current needs are as follows:  groups of 15-20 volunteers on various weekdays. Projects will all be outdoors.