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:

Keeper Aide: Department of Animal Health

  • sumatran tiger

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is home to a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital where a team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians carries out a program of preventive medicine and treats ill and injured animals. Volunteers are needed to help clean enclosures and procedure rooms, set up and break down enclosures, prepare animal diets, assist with laundry, restock supplies and complete paper work. There is minimal animal contact due to the fact that most animals are receiving medical treatment.

Volunteers must be able to commit to at least one shift per week for a minimum of one year. Shifts are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekday or weekend availability welcome.

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Volunteers should be physically fit and willing to work in all types of weather. Some animal care experience is preferred, but not required. Applicants studying biological sciences, animal science or veterinary medicine are preferred, but no formal degree or training is required.


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


Washington DC




Zoo Support

Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

Applicants will be interviewed by keeper staff, and those who are provisionally accepted will have background checks conducted, 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.