All volunteer programs are on hold until further notice.  Please visit our virtual conservation learning pages for digital resources and virtual programs.

Hey Teens!

Love animals and kids? Passionate about wildlife and conservation? Want to help others appreciate the natural world? Got a knack for talking to groups? Have some time to give? Then check out the coolest opportunity for teens in St. Louis -- Zoo ALIVE!

Zoo ALIVE is the Saint Louis Zoo’s volunteer educator program for high school age students. (ALIVE stands for Active Leaders In Volunteer Education.) Zoo ALIVE volunteers:

  • Help Education Department staff members deliver weekend programs for children -- including preschool classes, youth programs, and scout overnights.
  • Lead educational activities for Zoo visitors.
  • Help with our awesome summer camp program, Camp KangaZoo, Camp Joey and Specialty Camps.
  • Assist with birthday parties, and outreach programs.
  • Go on hiking and camping trips to explore nature and wildlife.
  • Help with the Zoo's conservation programs and plan your own project.
  • Learn all about the Zoo, its animals, and more!

Who can join?

Teens who will be at least 15 years old by their chosen Volunteer Orientation or Camp Training date (whichever comes first) may apply for the Zoo ALIVE program. We are seeking mature, responsible teens with an aptitude for leadership. Applicants should enjoy working with children, and should be interested in animals and conservation. No experience is necessary, but you must be willing to try new things, work together with members of our diverse group, and be an excellent representative of our world-class organization. Zoo ALIVE volunteers are required to lead discussions and demonstrate activities to groups of children and adults, so good communication skills are a must. Enthusiasm, confidence and a positive attitude are required!


We expect a lot from the young adults in this program. It is rewarding for us and can be life-changing for the teens who rise to the challenge. If you are wondering if your teen is ready for this program, please click here to see our expectations.

How much time is required?

All Zoo ALIVE volunteers are required to attend a monthly meeting throughout the year, usually held the first Sunday of each month from 5 – 7:30 p.m. At the meeting, volunteers receive training for upcoming volunteer opportunities, leadership skills and learn about current events and happenings at the Zoo or with the environment. Teens create and give presentations about environmental topics of their interest. There is also time to socialize and get to know other volunteers. (The first monthly meeting for new volunteers is Sunday, June 7, 2020, from 5-7:30 p.m.)

Besides the meeting, volunteers are asked to donate their time for at least two Zoo activities per month for at least one whole year.

New Zoo ALIVE volunteers are also required to attend a Volunteer Orientation from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (either Saturday, April 25 or Tuesday, June 2) and Camp Training from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (either Saturday, May 30 or Friday, June 5) and volunteer for two consecutive weeks at Camp KangaZoo, the Zoo's summer day camp.

Can I volunteer just for the summer?

Zoo ALIVE is a year-round program, which requires at least one full year commitment. If you are interested in volunteering only in the summer, see the Volunteer Opportunities  page and scroll to the bottom of the page for "Zoo Teens," the summer-only teen volunteer program.

What else is required?

All Zoo volunteers -- including Zoo ALIVE teens -- must pass a background check. Volunteers must agree to follow all of the Zoo's volunteer policies and procedures, including dress code and code of conduct. We communicate using Slack and email, so Zoo ALIVE teens must have an email account that they can check regularly. Most volunteer opportunities take place at the Zoo, so you must have reliable transportation or be willing and able to take public transportation to the Zoo.

A mandatory Parent Orientation meeting will be held for parents and guardians of new volunteers Sunday, June 7, 2020, 3 - 4:30 p.m., right before the first meeting with volunteers.

How do I Apply?

We accept up to 50 new Zoo ALIVE members each year, based on your application and an in-person interview on Sunday, March 8, 2020.

The Zoo ALIVE application must be received by our office no later than Thursday, February 27, 2020. Application materials may be sent via email or by mail to:

Eve Cooney, Saint Louis Zoo Education Department
1 Government Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63110

1. Application

Application period will open January 8, 2020.

The deadline for this year’s Zoo ALIVE application February 27, 2020, and includes several components:

  • Proof of Age (Photocopy or scan of one of the following: Passport, Driver's License, State ID, Permanent Resident Card, Birth Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship, Certificate of Naturalization, or Refugee Travel Document)
    May be sent via email or by mail.
  • Missouri Residents:
    Please complete the Missouri background check form
    Please note: to be considered completed, BOTH the birthdate and social security number must be filled out on the background check form.
    Form must be sent by mail or hand-delivered to the Zoo:
    Eve Cooney, Saint Louis Zoo Education Department
    1 Government Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63110
  • Illinois Residents:
    Please complete BOTH the Missouri and Illinois background check forms:
    Missouri background check form. Please note: to be considered completed, BOTH the birthdate and social security number must be filled out on the background check form.
    Illinois background check form. This form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian.
    Forms must be sent by mail or hand-delivered to the Zoo:
    Eve Cooney, Saint Louis Zoo Education Department
    1 Government Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63110

    The Saint Louis Zoo will send the completed forms and fees on your behalf; do not submit the form yourself. Include your signature in ink where indicated. These forms must be sent by mail to the Saint Louis Zoo (address listed above) or hand delivered to the Zoo Education Department; we cannot accept forms via email.

2. Group Interview

Group interviews will be held at the Zoo on Sunday, March 8, 2020.

Group interviews will be held in 2 sessions, 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m. All applicants are required to attend one group interview session, no exceptions.

There are a limited number of positions, so not all applicants can be accepted into the program. We hope that you will find the application and interview process valuable, even if you are not accepted. Final selections will be made and applicants will be notified in April 2020.

For more information, please call our Manager of Youth Programs, Eve Cooney at (314) 646-4563, or e-mail her at

If you are not selected for Zoo ALIVE you are still welcome to apply to Zoo Teens, the Saint Louis Zoo's summer-only teen volunteer program.  See the Volunteer Opportunities page, and scroll to the bottom of the page for details.