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:

asian elephant
Friends of the National Zoo is seeking volunteers to assist the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Elephant Trails keepers.
Age Requirement: 18+
Commitment: long-term
Orangutan
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 Requirement: 21+
Commitment: long-term
asian small-clawed otter
Asia Trail is currently seeking keeper aides to assist with the care of its animals, including sloth bears, clouded leopards, red pandas, and the iconic giant pandas.
Age Requirement: 18+
Commitment: long-term
golden lion tamarin
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 Requirement: 18+
Commitment: long-term
asian elephant
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
Flamingo
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 Requirement: 18+
Commitment: long-term
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 Requirement: 18+
Commitment: one-day