Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo




The National Zoo provides the opportunity for interns to gain experience in the zoo keeping field by participating in daily animal keeper activities including animal husbandry, nutrition, enrichment and training, and visitor education. The newly completed Asia Trail, featuring a variety of Asian carnivores, is seeking applicants for consideration to serve as interns for 2015 sessions.

DUTIES and Responsibilities

  • Assist animal keepers with feeding, cleaning, exhibit preparation and renovation, and behavioral observations.
  • Provide formal and informal interpretive educational programs for visitors.
  • Help design and implement animal enrichment programs.
  • Learn and follow animal/keeper safety guidelines, operations, and polices.
  • Develop or select an educational project to complete during the internship.


  • Must have or currently be pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in a related field.
  • Must have experience working around animals.
  • Must have strong communication skills.
  • Must be able to work in a team environment with staff, other interns and volunteers.
  • Must enjoy working outdoors in all weather conditions.
  • Must be in good physical condition and be able to lift at least 50 pounds.
  • Will be subject to fingerprinting and a background check.
  • Must have a negative TB test.
  • A trial working day is required prior to applicant acceptance into the program. This assures that the internship activities are understood by the selectee.


This is an unpaid internship. College credit is offered if desired; intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Intern will be responsible for all transportation costs and personal health insurance.


Rock Creek, Washington D.C.


The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C. area.


The National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution do not provide free parking to interns. There is limited parking at SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia.


There are three internship sessions throughout the year: spring, summer, and fall. Interns will work 40 hours a week, five days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.


  • Spring 2015: March 1 through May 31. Applications accepted between November 1 and December 1.
  • Summer 2015: June 15 through Aug 31.Applications accepted between February 15 and March 15
  • Fall 2015: September 15 to December 15. Applications accepted between May 15 and June 15.


To apply, go to: https://solaa.si.edu/solaa/SOLAAHome.html”. Select "New to SOLAA? Create Account Here" and complete the information as prompted. Please select the following from the drop down list:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: “Rock Creek-Asia Trail”

Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit” and when your references have been received (your SOLAA submitted application and references must be received by the deadlines as noted above).

Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Resume summarizing education (including current academic status) and employment experience
  • A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations.
  • Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  • Two letters of reference, including at least one academic reference
  • Schedule of availability


Email Stacey Tabellario at tabellarios@si.edu