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.

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Keeper Aide: American Trail

  • american beaver

American Trail at the Smithsonian's National Zoo is home to seals, sea lions, gray wolves, beavers, otters, ravens, pelicans, wood ducks and bald eagles. Volunteers are needed to help the animal care staff process fish and prepare food, clean enclosures and assist in putting together enrichment items for the animals on the trail.

Available shifts are on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Volunteers must be able to commit to one day per week for a minimum of one year. 

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Applicants should be physically fit and willing to work in all types of weather, as the animals mostly live outside. An interest in marine mammals is a must. Some professional animal care experience is preferred but not required. Volunteers should be detail oriented, able to follow instructions and able to work independently.


Once provisionally accepted, volunteers must complete mandatory online orientation trainings. Additional training will be provided on the job. There is a probationary period for all keeper aides.


Washington DC




Zoo Support

Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. Applicants will be interviewed by keeper staff, and those who are provisionally accepted will undergo background checks, including fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a keeper aide. Once accepted, volunteers must submit proof of required vaccinations (including tetanus and a negative TB test) to the Zoo's health unit.