Beginning Jan. 18, 2022, the Zoo is open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Entry passes are required for all guests, including infants. All visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask in all indoor spaces at the Zoo, regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated visitors do not need to wear a mask in outdoor areas. Select animal buildings remain closed.

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The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute offers exciting and unique internships that help participants reach a range of academic and professional goals.

Internships positions are available from a variety of groups at the Zoo including: veterinary medicine, research, and animal programs. Each internship may have a slightly different application process. Applications may be accepted on an ongoing basis or have a deadline, as noted below.

Animal Programs

Application deadline(s): Jan. 31, 2022
Application deadline(s): Feb. 16, 2022
Application deadline(s): Oct. 21, 2022


Application deadline(s): Feb. 01, 2022

YES! Teen Internship Program

The Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) internship is a program run by the National Museum of Natural History for youth from communities traditionally underrepresented in STEM. YES! is a career immersion and science communication program for youth ages 14-19, who are currently enrolled in high school (grades 9-11) in the Washington D.C. region.

This program gives interns practical experience through a hands-on science internship with Smithsonian science staff. Interns work in pairs on a project led by a Smithsonian science mentor at the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo or another Smithsonian unit. By participating in the program, teens also have access to behind-the-scenes tours and field trips, workshops, college preparatory classes, and the opportunity to create their own science communication video.

Students partnered with a mentor at the Zoo learn about the many facets of working at a Zoo, from animal care to the conservation of species. During each week of the program, interns typically spend two days shadowing their Zoo mentor and learning a variety of skills, including:

  • Exotic animal care and handling
  • Animal training and enrichment
  • Behavioral observation and data collection
  • Exhibit design
  • Natural history research on endangered species
  • Public speaking about conservation issues

To learn more about the YES! Teen Internship Program and to find out how to apply, visit the National Museum of Natural History’s website.