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: Small Animal Facility

  • Guam rail chick

The Small Animal Facility at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is home to a variety of highly endangered birds.

Volunteers are needed to help the animal care staff clean exhibits, floors and dishes, prepare food, make enrichment items, assist in behavioral observations and support other tasks as needed.

Volunteers must be able to commit to one day per week for a minimum of one year or two days per week for a minimum of six months. Shifts are available on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Weekend shifts are available.
Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Applicants should be physically fit and willing to work in all types of weather, and must be comfortable working in hot, humid conditions. An interest in avian husbandry and behavior 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.


Front Royal




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.