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: Reptile Discovery Center

  • Cuban Crocodile

The Smithsonian's National Zoo's Reptile Discovery Center is home to more than 70 species of reptiles and amphibians, including one of the Zoo’s longest-lived residents at the Zoo — an Aldabra tortoise estimated to be more than 100 years old. Keeper aides are needed to help prepare diets, clean enclosure and assist the animal care staff with other tasks.

Shifts are available daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers must be able to commit to at least one shift per week for a minimum of one year.

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Volunteers should be physically fit and willing to work in all types of weather, as some animals are exhibited outside but most are in a building that is warm year-round. Keeper aides should be interested in learning about and caring for a variety of amphibians and reptiles. Some animal care experience is preferred but not required.


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 Smithsonian's National Zoo's health unit.