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Returning Zoo Crew

Teens age 13-17 who have completed one summer of Zoo Crew have the opportunity to apply for a spring, summer or fall Returning Zoo Crew position, or a role in our new Teen Leadership Council. Your prior experience makes you eligible for a wider range of exciting opportunities to explore a variety of interests.

Returning Summer Zoo Crew

Returning teens who are back for a second (or third or fourth!) Zoo Crew program have a wider range of exciting options available to them, including the chance to work in animal care as a Junior Zookeeper, educate guests as a Naturalist, or continue to work with our Camp Zoofari program as a Camp Mentor.


Junior Zookeeper

Teens will assist zookeepers with daily care of our animals including feeding, cleaning, and observing.

  • Age requirements and schedule depend on the animal section they are selected to work in.
  • Participants must commit to three full weeks during the summer.

Options for teens with one summer of prior Zoo Crew experience:

Aquarium Junior Zookeeper
Birds Junior Zookeeper
Children's Zoo Junior Zookeeper
Hoofed Stock Junior Zookeeper
Junior Horticulturist

If you have at least two summers of prior Zoo Crew experience, you are eligible to apply for the following additional opportunities!

Elephants Junior Zookeeper
Herpetology Junior Zookeeper
Natural Encounters Junior Zookeeper
Primates Junior Zookeeper
Sea Lions Junior Zookeeper
Carnivores (must be at least 16 years old by June 1st)


Teens will educate zoo guests about our animals and conservation actions they can take to protect animals in the wild.

  • Participants must commit to three full weeks during the summer.
  • Schedule will be Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Camp Mentor

Assist with our Camp Zoofari summer camp for kids 4-12 years old.

  • Duties will include assisting with teaching lessons and crafts, monitoring and managing camper behavior, and being a mentor and role model to campers.
  • Participants must commit to three full weeks during the summer.
  • Schedule will be Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Year-Round Zoo Crew

After participating in one Summer Zoo Crew, returning teens can also continue in the Year-Round Zoo Crew program. These Zoo events and activities are a required part of Year-Round Zoo Crew, and will provide participants with a range of enjoyable and challenging work experiences. These posts typically occur on weekend or school holiday days, though participants must plan ahead to ensure their Zoo Crew commitments do not conflict with other extracurricular activities.

Fall (October – January)

  • Two shifts of Howlerween at Zoo Boo (the Zoo’s Halloween Event)
  • One day of Camp Mentoring

Spring (February- May)

  • Three shifts as Naturalist
    • This can include:
      • Naturalist stations
      • Spotlight on Species (SOS) Events
      • World Lemur Festival
      • Naturalist station development

You can add to your Year-Round Zoo Crew experience by including any of the following optional activities:

  • Staff and Board Mentoring
  • Connecting with Conservation Partners
  • Spotlight on Species (SOS) events
  • World Lemur Festival
  • Naturalist station activity development
  • Special Zoo Events (like Dreamnight)
  • New Camp Guide and New Zoo Crew Interviews
  • And more! Additional Year-Round Zoo Crew opportunities are added throughout the year depending on Zoo wide events.

Teen Leadership Council

The Teen Leadership Council is newly created in 2018! This highly-motivated group of returning Zoo Crew members will lead and mentor their Zoo Crew peers. This is an opportunity for returning Zoo Crew to build leadership skills while providing insight into how we can improve the Zoo Crew program.

Returning Zoo Crew in good standing can apply for the following Teen Leadership positions. Download the pdf job descriptions:

Lead Camp Mentor

Lead Naturalist


Leadership Council members will be required to attend three meetings prior to the summer, attend all five weeks of either Session 1 or Session 2 of summer Zoo Crew, and continue through the Year-Round Zoo Crew program following the summer.

How To Apply for the Teen Leadership Council

Complete your application by February 16, 2018. Interviews will occur during the week of February 18-24 and will be scheduled on an individual basis. Applicants will be chosen and given their preferred session based on their application, interview, and previous evaluations.

Returning Zoo Crew Program Fees

  • Summer only: $100
  • Year-Round: additional $100


Applications for 2018 Returning Zoo Crew are now closed. Check back at the beginning of 2019 for next year’s applications.


Interviews for Junior Zookeeper positions will be held on April 14th.  If you are applying for a Camp Mentor or Naturalist position, you do not need to interview.


Unable to attend our information sessions? Find all of the information that was presented here: Houston Zoo Teen Programs Information Session 2018

Check out our Adventure Programs for more ways for teens to get involved with the Houston Zoo!

Questions? Email us at or call us at 713-533-6567