The National Zoo is currently accepting applications forMembership Office Seasonal Help,special event volunteers to assist with ZooLights, and Keeper Aides in the Primate Unit.
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. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Special Event Volunteers: ZooLights
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. Recruit your friends (18 years and older) to volunteer with you!
Dates: ZooLights begins the evening after Thanksgiving on Saturday, November 30 and runs through January 1 on thirty-one nights (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:
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-one to dance in our life size snow globe and another to mingle and provide photo opportunities outside the globe. It may be possible to have one escort for two pandas but is better to have one each. Pointers as to how to be the best costumed character will be provided. These positions are located outdoors but inside the snow globe 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.
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. 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!
Questions or to sign up for specific nights/tasks: Please email us or call 202.633.3057. New volunters will be provided with a registration form to fill out and all volunteers will be sent confirmation information in advance of the event.
Please Note: 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.
Zoo Help: Seasonal Volunteer in Membership Office
The Friends of the National Zoo’s Membership Department is looking for a seasonal volunteer to assist with the production and assembly of Adopt-a-Species donor packages. Duties would include creating adoption certificates, bows and mailing labels, assembling packages and assisting with other duties as needed.
Special qualifications: Applicants should be comfortable with intermediate-level computer related tasks and be detail-oriented. Standing, walking short distances and some light lifting is required.
Time commitment: Volunteers are needed for two hour shifts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Shifts can occur between the hours of 9AM and 5PM. This volunteer position will run from December 1st, 2013 until February 28th, 2014.
Age requirement: You must be at least 16 years old to volunteer for this position.
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 Additional Information: Positions are 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 membership staff and if accepted will then be expected to attend General Orientation training (usually held the first Saturday of every month).
Please Note: If the position is extended beyond February 28, 2014 individuals will be expected to go through General Orientation training, pass a Smithsonian background check and fingerprinting process as well as become a FONZ member. 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 and to request an application: email us orcall 202.633.3062.
Keeper Aide: Primates
The Zoo’s Primate Department is home to great apes, gibbons, lemurs and a few various other species. Volunteers are needed to help the animal care staff clean cages, prepare enrichment and diet items, monitor animals and help enhance the overall visitor experience through talks and demonstrations.
Special Qualifications: Volunteers should be physically fit and able to lift heavy objects. The primate department is dedicated to enhancing the visitor’s experience, and a volunteer in this department will be expected to speak with the general public on a daily basis through formal and informal talks and demonstrations. An interest in primate husbandry and behavior is preferred but not required though we strongly encourage those looking to gain keeper experience to apply. This volunteer position has a strict no contact policy with the primates.
Time Commitment: One day a week and must commit to a year of volunteering. Currently, there are only a few vacancies on weekdays. Volunteers work 8 AM – 3:00 PM.
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: 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.
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 prior to starting as well as an annual TB test) to the NZP health unit, become a FONZ member in their first year of volunteering, and pay the orientation fee (includes volunteer shirt and namebadge). 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. TB testing is available free of charge at the zoo's health unit.
Application Process and Background Check: 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.
Closing date: December 20, 2013 – All applicants will be reviewed and will receive an email notification within two weeks of the closing date.
Questions or to apply: For additional information and to request an application: email us orcall 202.633.3275.
Check back frequently! 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.