The zoo is open! All visitors will require free entry passes and be required to follow safety measures. Free timed-entry Asia Trail/Panda Passes are required for the giant panda viewing.

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Zoo Help: Horticulture

  • Horticulture Volunteer planting flowers

Friends of the National Zoo is seeking horticulture volunteers to assist the Smithsonian's National Zoo's gardeners and horticulturists. Volunteer tasks include all forms of plant care, both in and out of the animal exhibits. Volunteers may find themselves planting flowers at the front gate, watering the hummingbird garden or pulling weeds in the flamingo exhibit!

In order to be considered, volunteers must be able to make a season's commitment to the program — April through Oct. (winter months are closed) — and must be able to work two shifts each month. Shifts are from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday to Friday.

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

This position is mostly outdoors, so tolerance for all weather conditions is a must. Volunteers should be physically fit and able to lift 30 pounds. Some gardening experience is preferred.


Once provisionally accepted, you must complete mandatory online orientation and training. Additional training will be provided on the job. There is a probationary period for all keeper aides.


Washington DC




Zoo Support

Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. Applicants will be interviewed by unit staff, and those who are provisionally accepted will undergo background checks, including fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a Zoo volunteer. Once accepted, volunteers must submit proof of required vaccinations, including tetanus and a negative TB test, to the Zoo's health unit.

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