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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:

Friends of the National Zoo is now seeking volunteers to help with the annual Boo at the Zoo trick-or-treat event on Oct. 19, 20 and 21.
Age Range: 15+
Commitment: one-day
Dragonfly on a Lotus Flower
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 Range: 18+
Commitment: one-day
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

Upcoming opportunities:

Coming Soon! Friends of the National Zoo will be seeking volunteers for the Zoo's annual Night of the Living Zoo event on Friday, October 26 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 Range: 21+
Commitment: one-day