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Teen Programs

Cultivating the next generation of conservation heroes!

The Houston Zoo Teen Programs seek to inspire teens to problem solve ways to save animals in the wild and empower them to influence others to take action. By providing teens with opportunities to act, these programs will instill and foster a sense of care for the environment, which will inspire them to become lifelong advocates for all wildlife both locally and globally.

Teens will gain experience in hands-on conservation both on and off Zoo grounds. They will learn how to inspire others to take action to save wildlife by educating guests of the Zoo about our animals and our Take Action Initiatives. Teens will also have the opportunity to connect with the natural world through outdoor adventure and exploration.

First Year
Zoo Crew Explorers

Teens, ages 13-17, participating in Zoo Crew for the first time will have the opportunity to explore everything that the Houston Zoo does to save animals in the wild. From zookeepers, to groundskeepers, to our marketing department, Zoo Crew Explorers will learn about all the different career possibilities and how each of our staff members are active in saving wildlife.

The Zoo Crew Explorers program is a 5-week summer program. All first year teens, regardless of age, must complete a summer of Zoo Crew Explorers before they are able to participate in our year-round programming.

  • Two 5-week program sessions will be offered
  • 5-week program includes:
    • 2 weeks of experience as a Camp Mentor at Camp Zoofari
    • 2 weeks as a Naturalist providing education to our Zoo guests
    • 1 week of Keeper/Career shadowing
      • This will include shadowing zookeepers, career chats with Zoo professionals, behind-the-scenes tours, and one day of Adventure Programming where teens will learn about careers in the field off zoo grounds.

Once first year teens have completed the Zoo Crew Explorers program they are eligible to continue their experience in our year-round teen programs.

Zoo Crew Explorers Program Fees
  • Summer only: $150
  • Year-round: additional $100
Zoo Crew

Teens, ages 13-17, who have already completed one summer of Zoo Crew have the opportunity to choose how they would like to be involved at the Houston Zoo.

Program choices include:

Junior Zookeeper
Camp Mentor


Returning Zoo Crew Program Fees
  • Summer only: $100
  • Year-round: additional $100

Applications and Interviews


Applications for 2017 Zoo Crew are now closed. Please check back at the beginning of next year for 2018 applications. Also, check out our Adventure Programs below for more ways to be involved with the Houston Zoo Teen Programs. 

Adventure Programs

Teens will explore natural areas in Texas and participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, etc. They will also participate in conservation projects such as beach clean-ups and habitat restoration.

  • Open to all accepted Zoo Crew members throughout the year
  • Open to all teens, ages 13-17, in non-summer months (February-April, October-December). This includes teens not accepted into the Zoo Crew program.
  • Summer Adventure Programs for Zoo Crew members:
    • 1st year Zoo Crew Explorers will be scheduled for one adventure program as part of their 5-week experience
    • Returning Zoo Crew must sign-up for trips on select weeks throughout the summer




Upcoming Adventure Programs

October 7th- Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Lake Livingston State Park

October 29th- Geocaching in Sam Houston National Forest

November 18th- Bird Banding with Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

December 3rd- High Ropes Challenge Course at Camp Allen (Waitlist Only)



Frequently Asked Questions
What are the minimum hour requirements?
When will we find out if we’ve been accepted?
Do we need to submit letters of recommendation?
What kind of training will we receive?
I can't commit that much time, but I still want to be involved in the Houston Zoo. What other opportunities are there for me?
I will be turning 18 this summer, can I still participate?


Did you miss our information sessions? All the information presented can be found here: Teen Programs Information Session Presentation

Questions about our teen programs? Contact us at