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: Cheetah Conservation Station (Africa)

  • A cheetah laying in the grass on a sunny day

Coming soon! The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is recruiting volunteers to serve as interpreters at Cheetah Conservation Station, home to nine species native to Africa, including cheetahs, Grevy’s zebra, oryx, red river hogs, lesser kudu and Ruppell’s griffon vultures. Interpreters are front-line educators who play a central role in enhancing the experience of Zoo guests by sharing animal and conservation stories, engaging guests with biological objects and artifacts, and answering questions.

Interpreters will learn about natural history, conservation, the care and training needed to support the Zoo's animals, 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.

Volunteers must be able to commit at least one year interpreting at Cheetah Conservation Station. Volunteers will be scheduled for three, 3-hour shifts each month. They will also be asked to participate in monthly evening meetings and assist with occasional special events. Volunteer shifts are available seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Candidates should have a strong interest in Cheetah Conservation Station species and the Zoo, as well as the desire and ability to speak with diverse audiences. CCS is a popular exhibit and can be crowded. Volunteers should have a tolerance for working outdoors in a range of weather conditions, including heat, cold and rain.


Training consists of both classroom and online sessions beginning in late May. You must be able to attend all three of the Saturday in-person training dates: June 1, 15 and 22.


Washington DC





Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

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

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