Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



National Zoo’s Reptile Discovery Center Behavior Internship

The Reptile Discovery Center (RDC) at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park is seeking an animal behavior intern for the fall Semester. The RDC is seeking an intern to help observe, record and analyze animal behavior. This position requires a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences, good observation and communication skills and a minimum of 8 hours a week.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • The intern’s main duties will focus on observing, recording and analyzing animal behavior.
  • Assist keepers with daily exhibit cleaning, food preparation, and general facility maintenance.
  • Provide formal and informal interpretive educational programs for Zoo visitors.
  • Learn and follow all safety protocols and policies of the unit.
  • Though not required, support will be given to any intern who wishes to pursue publications of their project results at the end of their internship.


  • Strong preference will be given to graduate students or recent graduates pursuing a career in a related field.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment with staff and volunteers
  • Strong communication and public speaking skills
  • Ability to stand, stoop, climb, and lift up to 50 pounds
  • Flexibility and a good sense of humor
  • Availability to work a regular schedule, including weekends and holidays


This is an unpaid internship. Special consideration will be given to applicants who receive college credit for internship. Intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Intern will be responsible for all transportation costs and personal health insurance. This is an unpaid, volunteer position.


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.

Term of Appointment

A three-and-a-half month internship is available for the Fall (September through January). Interns will work 8 to 25 hours per week. Reasonable exceptions may be made in order to coordinate with University or work schedules.

Application Deadlines

Applications must be submitted by July 1.

To Apply

To apply, go to: https://solaa.si.edu/solaa/SOLAAHome.html” S elect "New to SOLAA? Create Account Here" complete the information to create an account.  You will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in.

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: “Rock Creek—Reptile Discovery Center”

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 or CV summarizing education and work experience
  • College or university and current academic status (unofficial transcripts acceptable)
  • Degrees held or expected
  • A one page statement stating:
    • Why you are interested in this internship at the National Zoo, including specifically the area selected (Reptile Discovery Center, Behavioral Study) and any prior animal experience.
    • What you hope to get out of this internship (learning objectives)
    • Schedule of availability
    • Two letters of reference, submitted directly to SOLAA


Email Matt Evans at evansmj@si.edu for further information about this internship.