The zoo is open! All visitors will require free entry passes and be required to follow safety measures. Free timed-entry Asia Trail/Panda Passes are required for the giant panda viewing.

Share this page:

Education Interpreter at Amazonia

  • Titi monkeys Henderson (left) and Kingston (right) at Amazonia.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is recruiting volunteers to serve as education interpreters in Amazonia, a unique exhibit that immerses visitors into the Amazon River Basin where giant arapaima, catfish, turtles and stingrays swim underwater and birds, frogs and monkeys inhabit the forest world above. More than 350 species of plants, including kapok, avocado and cocoa trees, tropical vines and epiphytes, live in this enclosed tropical habitat.

Interpreters are front-line educators who play a central role in enhancing the experience of Zoo guests by sharing animal and conservation stories, answering questions, and engaging guests with biological objects and artifacts. Interpreters will learn about natural history, conservation, the work that goes into caring for Amazonia species, and the tools and techniques needed to communicate effectively with guests. Please note that volunteers do not have direct contact or interaction with exhibit species.

Time commitment: Volunteers must be able to commit to at least one year interpreting at Amazonia. Volunteers are scheduled for three, 3-hour shifts each month, and are asked to participate in monthly evening meetings and assist with occasional special events. Volunteer shifts occur seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 1-4 p.m.

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Candidates should have good communication skills, a desire to learn, an eagerness to interact with a wide variety of visitors and an interest in tropical wildlife, plants, science and conservation issues.


Training consists of both classroom and online sessions beginning in early September. You must be able to attend all three of the in-person training dates: 

  • Weekends (full day): Sunday, Sept. 8 and Saturday, Sept. 21
  • Weekday (evenings): Monday, Sept. 16


Washington DC





Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

If accepted into the program, volunteers must pass a Smithsonian background check, complete training and are encouraged to become a FONZ member in their first year of volunteering.* 

*Options are available for individuals for whom the fees and membership may not be manageable.