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Currently Recruiting For . .

The National Zoo is currently accepting applications for Keeper Aides in the Reptile Discovery Center, Asia Trail, and Small Mammals and Special Event help for Zoolights.

For long-term assignments (interpreters, keeper aides, behavior watchers) we recommend that you only apply to the area where you are most interested in working, as you will not be eligible to volunteer with another unit for at least six months.

These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis however submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement.

Special Event: Zoolights
November 28-January 1 (except Dec. 24, 25, and 31)
ZooLights is the magical winter light show and experience at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. We are seeking volunteers to assist with a variety of activities and help make the event even more special for our visitors.

Dates: ZooLights begins the evening after Thanksgiving on Friday, November 28 and runs through January 1 (excluding Dec 24, 25, and 31). Sign up for one night or every night!

Time commitment: Shifts are from 4:45p.m. – 9:00p.m. You must be able to volunteer for the entire shift. Volunteers are asked to check in by 4:30p.m.

Volunteer duties: ZooLights volunteers are needed to assist with three different assignments (six volunteers total) each night :

    • Auditorium Greeter/Monitor  (two people)
    • Costumed Character – ‘Panda Claws’  (two people)
    • Escort for ‘Panda Claws’  (two people)
    • Special Night Giveaway Stations– 11/29, 12/6, 12/13, 12/20, 12/27 (one or two people)


Auditorium Greeter/Monitors: Help us by keeping an eye on and answering questions about the displays in the Visitor Center auditorium—which include the Wildlife Model Train, the Gin-Grr-Bread contest entries, and a display of astounding origami animals. You need to be friendly, welcoming and comfortable answering general questions about the displays and the event (we will provide answers to you). This position is located indoors.


Panda Claws: If you like to wear costumes, come and suit up to be a giant panda-every guest's favorite! Recruit a friend to be your escort (someone who enjoys speaking with visitors and will help facilitate periodic breaks) or sign up for either job and we will provide the partner. We are looking for two Panda Claws each night-both based at Panda Plaza. Pointers as to how to be the best costumed character will be provided. These positions are located outdoors but inside the panda costume is toasty!


Panda Claws Escort:
Panda claws is very popular but doesn't speak of course! Escorts will facilitate meet and greets between Panda Claws and the public, greet and interact with visitors, and facilitat Panda Claws taking periodic breaks. These postions are located outdoors. It may be possible to have one escort for two pandas but is better to have one for each panda.

 

Special Night Giveaway Stations: Help us distribute special treats to visitors during special Sponsor and Member nights on 11/29, 12/6, 12/13, 12/20, 12/27.  Despending on the night, the position may be located indoors or outdoors.


Special Qualifications: Volunteers need to be in good health, willing to work in all types of weather, have stamina and good people skills.


Age Requirement:
You must be 18 years or older to volunteer at ZooLights.


Uniform Requirement:
Current volunteers should wear their red Zoo volunteer uniform shirt and khaki pants/skirts. First time volunteers should wear a plain red top and khaki pants/skirts. No jeans please. If you are volunteering to be a costume character, suggestions on what to wear will be provided with your confiramation. A name tag (if you do not already have one) will be provided when you check in. Please be sure to dress for the weather!


Getting to the Zoo: Volunteers are strongly encouraged to take Metro to the zoo, if you must drive parking at this event will be free. More information about parking will be provided in your confirmation.


Questions or to Apply: For additional information call 202-633-3057.  To apply , Click Here and fill out the Zoolights Special Event Application form.

Keeper Aides: Reptile Discovery Center

The Zoo's Reptile Discovery Center is home to over 600 individual animals of about 100 species from frogs and salamanders to snakes and giant tortoises. Volunteers are needed to help the animal care staff prepare food, change water in aquatic exhibits, and clean enclosures for animals in the Reptile Discovery Center.


Special Qualifications
: Volunteers should be physically fit and willing to work in heat and humidity due to the nature of the exhibit. An interest in reptiles and amphibians is a must. Some animal care experience is preferred, but not required. Please Note: It is National Zoo policy that individuals that keep venomous animals in personal collections will not be accepted as volunteer keeper aides.


Time Commitment
: Shifts are 8am-3pm one day per week for a minimum of one year. Currently weekend and weekday shifts are available.


Age Requirement
: You must be at least 18 years old to apply.


Training
: Once accepted, you must attend a mandatory General Orientation session, usually held on the first Saturday of each month. Additional training will be provided on the job. There is a probationary period for keeper aides.


Uniform Requirement
: Volunteers must purchase and wear a Zoo volunteer uniform shirt and a name badge which is included in the orientation/training fee of $20. Volunteers must also wear khaki pants (no jeans) and sturdy closed-toed shoes.


Application Process and Background Check Requirement
: These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. The Smithsonian Institution and FONZ are committed to providing the safest environment for our staff and volunteers, as well as for our guests. Applicants will be interviewed by keeper staff, and those that are provisionally accepted must pass a Smithsonian background check which includes fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a keeper aide prior to beginning to volunteer.


Membership, Health Requirement and Additional Information
: Once the background check has been passed, volunteers must sign up and complete General Orientation training, submit proof of required vaccinations (negative TB test and tetanus) to the NZP health unit, become a FONZ member in their first year of volunteering, and pay the orientation fee (includes volunteer shirt and name badge). Options are available for individuals for whom the fees and membership may not be manageable, please inquire with the Program's Supervisor for available options.


Questions or to Apply
: For additional information call 202-633-3052.  To apply, Click Here and fill out the Keeper Aide Application form.

 

Keeper Aides: Asia Trail

The Asia Trail Unit is looking for keeper aides to assist with the care of its collection of animals including sloth bears, clouded leopards, fishing cats and Asian small-clawed otters. Volunteers are needed to help clean enclosures, exhibits, and animal buildings, prepare animal diets, do laundry, restock supplies, and organizing.

Special qualifications:
Volunteers should be physically fit and willing to work in all types of weather. Some animal care experience is preferred, but not required. 

Time commitment:
  Shifts are 7am-3pm one day per week for a minimum of one year. Currently Saturday-Thursday shifts are available.

Age requirement: You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer.

Training:  Once accepted, you must attend a mandatory General Orientation session, usually held on the first Saturday of each month. Additional training will be provided on the job. There is a probationary period for keeper aides.


Uniform Requirement:
Volunteers must purchase and wear a Zoo volunteer uniform shirt and a name badge which is included in the orientation/training fee of $20. Volunteers must also wear khaki pants (no jeans) and sturdy closed-toed shoes.


Application Process and Background Check Requirement:
These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. The Smithsonian Institution and FONZ are committed to providing the safest environment for our staff and volunteers, as well as for our guests. Applicants will be interviewed by keeper staff, and those that are provisionally accepted must pass a Smithsonian background check which includes fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a keeper aide prior to beginning to volunteer.


Membership, Health Requirement and Additional Information:
Once the background check has been passed, volunteers must sign up and complete General Orientation training, submit proof of required vaccinations (negative TB test and tetanus) to the NZP health unit, become a FONZ member in their first year of volunteering, and pay the orientation fee (includes volunteer shirt and name badge). Options are available for individuals for whom the fees and membership may not be manageable; please inquire with the Program's Supervisor for available options.


Questions or to Apply
: For additional information call 202-633-3052.  To apply, Click Here and fill out the Keeper Aide Application form.


Keeper Aides: Small Mammal House

The Zoo’s Small Mammal House is home to an interesting mix of mammals, the majority of which are no bigger than a bread box. Golden lion tamarins, armadillos, porcupines, and naked mole rats are among some of the species found inside.

Volunteers are needed to help the animal care staff prepare food, clean enclosures, plant care and environmental enrichment.


Special Qualifications:
Volunteers should be physically fit and able to work in all kinds of weather where applicable. An interest in the exhibit species is a must (armadillos, meerkats, monkeys, porcupines, and naked mole-rats are just a few of the small mammals housed in this exhibit). Some experience is preferred, but not required.

Time commitment:
  Shifts are 7am-3pm one day per week for a minimum of one year. Currently weekend and weekday shifts are available.

Age requirement: You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer.

Training:  Once accepted, you must attend a mandatory General Orientation session, usually held on the first Saturday of each month. Additional training will be provided on the job. There is a probationary period for keeper aides.


Uniform Requirement:
Volunteers must purchase and wear a Zoo volunteer uniform shirt and a name badge which is included in the orientation/training fee of $20. Volunteers must also wear khaki pants (no jeans) and sturdy closed-toed shoes.


Application Process and Background Check Requirement:
These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. The Smithsonian Institution and FONZ are committed to providing the safest environment for our staff and volunteers, as well as for our guests. Applicants will be interviewed by keeper staff, and those that are provisionally accepted must pass a Smithsonian background check which includes fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a keeper aide prior to beginning to volunteer.


Membership, Health Requirement and Additional Information:
Once the background check has been passed, volunteers must sign up and complete General Orientation training, submit proof of required vaccinations (negative TB test and tetanus) to the NZP health unit, become a FONZ member in their first year of volunteering, and pay the orientation fee (includes volunteer shirt and name badge). Options are available for individuals for whom the fees and membership may not be manageable; please inquire with the Program's Supervisor for available options.


Questions or to Apply
: For additional information call 202-633-3052.  To apply f, Click Here and fill out the Keeper Aide Application form.

 

 

 

Upcoming Recruiting:

Check back frequently! There's always something going on at the Zoo! Information on applying will be posted along with each recruitment.

Want to help the Zoo in another way? Join Friends of the National Zoo today.