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Volunteer

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


Adult 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 ambassador animal handling
  • Education Program Assistant – helping 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 will be accepting new applications for our Adult Volunteer program in October. Please check back soon! When open, an application will be posted.


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 and at least one adult chaperone for every 10 volunteers under the age of 18 is required.

Volunteers-group-horticulture

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.

Project Categories

  • 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).

We are now accepting applications for Zoo Boo 2016 group volunteers! We will continue to accept group applications as long as we have shifts to fill. There will be a pumpkin patch, temp tattoo station, candy stations, and game stations – your group may help in all of these areas. Volunteers should be enthusiastic and ready to interact with our guests! Most stations will require standing, and everything is outdoors, rain or shine. If your group is between 5-15 in size, and you are available on one of these dates and shift times, please submit an application (note that your group may be split into smaller teams):

Thursdays: October 13, 20 (12:45pm-3:00pm) *limit 10 people
Fridays: October 14, 21 (7:45am-1:30pm)
Saturdays: October 15, 22, 29 (7:45am-12:30pm or 10:45am-4:15pm)
Sundays: October 16, 23, 30 (7:45am-12:30pm or 10:45am-4:15pm)
Monday: October 31 (7:45am-1:30pm)

Apply Now

Teens

Our teen programs are being renovated! Please check back later for 2017 plans!

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 Summer Zoo Crew program lasts ten weeks and requires a 100-hour time commitment.

First Year Zoo Crew may assist our Education Department in one of three areas:  Theatrical Interpretation, Education, or Camp Zoofari. Not all areas may be offered each year. Please read the detailed 2016 First Year Summer Zoo Crew Description & Requirements.

Returning Zoo Crew who participated in a previous session of the Summer Zoo Crew program may apply for senior positions in Theatrical Interpretation, Education, or Camp Zoofari in addition to designated animal sections. Not all areas may be offered each year. Please read the detailed 2016 Returning Zoo Crew Description and Requirements.

Please monitor this website for future opportunities!

Questions? Contact us at volunteer@houstonzoo.org


Teen Volunteers – Fall Zoo Crew Program

The Fall Zoo Crew Program usually 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.

We are not recruiting for the 2016 Fall Zoo Crew program. Please check this page for future new and improved opportunities.


Other Teen Opportunities

For information on Alternative Teen Break, please visit the Teens page:  http://www.houstonzoo.org/experiences/teens/


Internships

Visit the Houston Zoo Internship page for details and to apply.


Questions about any of our volunteer programs? Contact us at volunteer@houstonzoo.org

Ann Kramer