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: Elephant Trails

  • asian elephant

The Smithsonian's National Zoo's Elephant Trails exhibit is a state-of-the-art facility for the care, conservation and research of Asian elephants.

Shifts are available Mondays and Tuesdays from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. You must be able to volunteer at least one day each week for one year.

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Volunteers must be physically fit and willing to work both indoors and out and in all types of weather. This job requires hard and often constant physical labor. It includes, but is not limited to: food preparation, cleaning, shoveling, raking, hosing, and hauling carts of food or hay. Please note that volunteers do not have any contact with the animals. Some professional animal care experience is preferred but not required. Applicants must have the ability to follow unit rules and supervisor instructions, be detail oriented and be able to work independently.


Once provisionally accepted, volunteers must complete mandatory online orientation and training. 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.