Share this page:

Volunteer at the Zoo

Volunteer programs at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's main campus in Washington, D.C., fall into five categories: education, Zoo support, special events, teens, and groups.

Looking for volunteer opportunities at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute? See the volunteer opportunities in Front Royal, Virginia

For long-term assignments (interpreters, keeper aides, behavior watchers) we recommend that you only apply to the area where you are most interested in working, as you will not be eligible to volunteer with another unit for at least six months. These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, however, submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement.

Currently accepting applications for:

Volunteers are needed to help with the Smithsonian's National Zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo trick-or-treat event on Oct. 20, 21 and 22.
Age Requirement: 15+
Commitment: one-day
Volunteers are needed during the Zoo's Night of the Living Zoo event on Friday, October 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Roles include helping at the registration tables, acting as greeters or bouncers, giving out treats, bartending, and more.
Age Requirement: 21+
Commitment: one-day
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is currently recruiting volunteers to serve as education interpreters at the Reptile Discovery Center (RDC), home to the iconic Komodo dragon as well as turtles, snakes, crocodiles, lizards, and even a few amphibians.
Age Requirement: 18+
Commitment: long-term

Amazonia is currently seeking Keeper Aides who are interested in learning about and caring for a variety of amphibians, reptiles, plants, fish, birds and mammals.

Age Requirement: 18+
Commitment: long-term
Volunteers are needed to help the animal care staff prepare food, clean enclosures, and assist in putting together enrichment items for the animals on American Trail.
Age Requirement: 18+
Commitment: long-term

The National Elephant Herpesvirus Lab is currently seeking a volunteer to assist with lab maintenance, data entry, and sample testing.

Age Requirement: 18+
Commitment: long-term

Friends of the National Zoo is currently accepting volunteer groups to assist with a variety of projects around the Zoo, including raking, weeding, planting, mulching, cleaning signs and glass, preparing for events, and grounds clean up.

Age Requirement: 18+
Commitment: one-day