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: Primates

  • Orangutan

The Primate Exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Zoo is home to great apes, gibbons, guenons, lemurs and other species. Volunteers are needed to help the animal care staff clean exhibits, prepare food and enrichment items, and when necessary, monitor animal activity on the Zoo's O-Line.

Volunteers must be able to commit to one day per week for a minimum of one year. Shifts are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Applicants should be physically fit and able to lift heavy objects. An interest in primate husbandry and behavior is preferred but not required. There is a strict no contact policy with the primates.


Once provisionally accepted, you 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

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 Smithsonian's National Zoo's health unit.