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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 seeking volunteers to assist the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Elephant Trails animal keepers.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: long-term
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 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
The Smithsonian's National Zoo is looking for volunteers to participate in a systematic survey of Zoo grounds, looking at glass panel areas that are known for potential bird strike hazards.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: long-term
Volunteers are needed at the Andean bears exhibit to help the animal care staff clean exhibits, floors and dishes, retrieve fecal samples, prepare food, make enrichment items, and other tasks as needed.
Age Range: 21+
Commitment: long-term

Upcoming opportunities:

Coming soon! Friends of the National Zoo is seeking volunteers to help with the annual Boo at the Zoo trick-or-treat event on Oct. 18, 19 and 20.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: one-day
Coming Soon! Friends of the National Zoo is seeking volunteers for the Zoo's annual Night of the Living Zoo event on Friday, Oct. 25, from 7-10:45 p.m. Roles include helping at the registration tables, acting as greeters or bouncers, giving out treats, bartending and more.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: one-day
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
Coming soon! Friends of the National Zoo is seeking volunteers for Zoo Uncorked on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. Zoo Uncorked is a wine-tasting event at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, featuring vintners, food trucks and live entertainment.
Age Range: 18+
Commitment: one-day