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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 the animal care staff clean exhibits, prepare food and enrichment items, and when necessary monitor, animal activity on the Zoo's O-Line.
Age Range: 21+
Commitment: long-term
Volunteers are needed to help the Small Mammal House animal care staff prepare food, clean enclosures, care for plants in the exhibit and create enrichment.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: long-term
Volunteers are needed at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Kids' Farm to prepare diets, clean enclosures and create enrichment items.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: long-term
Volunteers are needed to assist the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Bird House keepers clean exhibits, floors and dishes, and prepare food and enrichment items.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: long-term
Volunteer at Elephant Trails. Introduce visitors to the Asian elephants, share animal and conservation stories, answer questions, and engage visitors in activities using biological objects and artifacts.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: long-term

Upcoming opportunities:

Coming soon! Volunteer groups assist with a variety of projects around the Zoo, including raking, weeding, planting, mulching, cleaning signs and glass, preparing for events, and grounds cleanup.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: one-day
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo will soon recruit volunteers to serve as education interpreters in the newly renovated Bird House, opening in 2021.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: long-term