- Are you looking for a way to give back to the Saint Louis community?
- Do you have a passion for sharing the Zoo’s mission to protect the world’s animals and preserve natural places?
- Are you looking for a flexible, fun and engaging volunteer opportunity?
- Simply put! Is the Zoo your happy place?
The Saint Louis Zoo welcomes enthusiastic volunteers who have a love for animals and a passion for serving the people of our community. Zoo volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and bring a variety of experience, knowledge and skill to the Zoo's operations. Of course, no prior experience is necessary -- we'll teach you what you need to know. Whether you have just a few hours each month to spare, or are looking for a new avenue in life, there is a home for you at the Zoo.
Volunteers support the Zoo’s mission by educating guests, assisting with wayfinding around the Zoo, helping with special events and participating in countless other programs. Each year, our volunteers contribute over 100,000 hours of service, for which we are incredibly thankful. Click on the opportunities below to see which is right for you.
- Represent and share the Zoo’s mission by encouraging the support and enriching the experience of our visitors.
- Be at least 18 years of age (See Teen Programs for ages 15-18 below).
- Commit to volunteering for at least one year.
- Give a minimum of 30 hours of service per year.
- Submit a formal application and pass a background screen check. These materials will be provided to you via email after an initial introductory phone call.
- Attend a 30 minute interview and required trainings (provided free of charge by the Zoo).
- All volunteers will participate in a one-day Volunteer Orientation. Orientations are held in the early spring, summer and fall.
- Additional training may be required based on program interest.
- Submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Applicants will bring vaccination card to volunteer interview.
Steps to Become a Volunteer
- Browse our volunteer program descriptions.
- Give us a call at (314) 646-4670. The Volunteer Services department is happy to share more information on program details, upcoming training opportunities and requirements, and learn how you would like to contribute to the Zoo’s mission.
- After the introductory phone call, we will send you a link to schedule your volunteer interview, along with the volunteer application.
- Attend volunteer interview and pass a background screen check.
- Upon acceptance, attend required volunteer orientation and applicable trainings.
Want to try out volunteering before applying? Check out our Events information below. Volunteering for an upcoming event is a great way to see what being a Zoo volunteer is like!
Ambassadors make the Saint Louis Zoo the friendliest place in town! As an Ambassador volunteer, you will serve the public throughout grounds by providing essential visitor information, and giving recommendations to the Zoo’s award-winning exhibits, amenities and unique attractions. Ambassadors can also be trained to share the Zoo’s over 100-year history!
“Being an Ambassador is so awesome! We are the meet and greet arm of the Zoo. It is so interesting meeting people from all over the country- and even the world. Visitors appreciate our help in giving directions to animals, buildings and attractions. Ambassador hours are super flexible- come any day and stay however long you want. Work in one spot giving directions or roam the Zoo helping people. If you are someone who enjoys people, loves the Zoo and has a busy life; being an Ambassador is a great fit for you!” – Sue, Ambassador Volunteer
Spend your days in a tropical paradise! The Saint Louis Zoo's Bayer Insectarium Mary Ann Lee Butterfly Wing is a geodesic dome filled with tropical plants, rock outcroppings, a waterfall and pool. As a Butterfly Wing volunteer, you will help to keep butterflies safe and interact with guests to further their appreciation for our invertebrate and plant species. Volunteers can choose their own 2-hour shifts Monday through Sunday. Volunteers have the option to sit or stand.
Do you love animals and people? Are you passionate about wildlife and their habitats? Would you like to be a part of the Saint Louis Zoo's efforts to help our visitors and the greater community understand and appreciate nature? Then you might want to consider becoming a Saint Louis Zoo docent.
Docents, managed by the Zoo's Education Department, are volunteer educators. They engage with Zoo guests about animals and the natural world through leading school classes and tours at the Zoo and in the community, and sharing our Zoo stories about animals and conservation out on our Zoo grounds. A weekly three-hour shift, eight Saturdays of initial training, and ongoing training is required. Docents are asked to commit a minimum of 62 hours of support per year to the Zoo. Click here for more information.
“Working with our Education Volunteers, Docents, is such fun. Every day I have the privilege of getting to know these wonderful and dedicated group of people who are funny, smart, and great team members.” - Hannah Petri, Docent & Interpretation Manager
The Zoo hosts events and fundraisers throughout the year that require hundreds of volunteers. Event volunteers help with everything from greeting guests, engaging families and children with creative games and crafts, to assisting food and drink vendors as bar backs. We encourage you to “try out” volunteering at one of our upcoming events! View upcoming event opportunities HERE. The minimum age for volunteering at events is 18 years old (or 15 years old with a guardian).
“Volunteers make our department run smooth and efficiently on event days. They act as extensions of our team and help us ensure that our events run as effortlessly as possible. As a small department, we simply could not execute our events without volunteers! Their dedication and passion is unmatched! They care so strongly about our Zoo and our mission that their joy is contagious!” – Special Events Department
Help visitors take a piece of the Zoo home! As a Safari Gift Shop volunteer, you will assist Zoo staff with greeting customers, stocking merchandise and helping guests with their selections. With a wide variety of handcrafted items that help to fund conservation efforts, to jewelry, Zoo apparel and plush toys, our volunteers ensure visitors find the perfect souvenir or gift for any occasion. Volunteers work with gift shop staff to choose their own shifts with a Monday through Sunday schedule.
“Volunteers make a difference in the Gift Shop because they provide the “icing on the cake.” Staff can do the basics but the Volunteers come in and assist with all the details in the stores. It truly takes a team, and they are a very important part of our team! They bring so much diversity to the Zoo, and these different perspectives are so important to the overall Zoo experience. They help make us one of the best Zoos in the world!” – Tommy Brown, Retail Manager
Is your organization or group looking for a fun and rewarding service project? Opportunities and availability vary based on Zoo needs, but may include special events, event preparations, gardening, and other projects.
- The Zoo cannot guarantee volunteer placement. Volunteer opportunities and availability vary based on Zoo needs.
- Volunteer activities are designed for groups of 10-25 people, and typically take 2-3 hours.
- All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and must be members of your group/organization.
- There are no opportunities to work with animals.
- A list of participants must be sent to the Zoo at least 1 week in advance of the activity.
- Each participant will need to complete a volunteer emergency contact and waiver form.
- In the event of inclement weather, the Zoo will attempt to reschedule your volunteer day but cannot guarantee this will be possible.
Please complete the inquiry form at least 8 weeks in advance of your requested service date. Upon submission of the form, Zoo staff will reach out to you regarding volunteer opportunities.
Join the ranks of our knowledgeable and welcoming volunteers at the Saint Louis Zoo! Located in the center of the Zoo’s campus in Schnuck Family Plaza, the Guest Relations Booth is the information hub, helping visitors get the most out of their day at the Zoo. Working alongside a Guest Services employee, Guest Relations Booth volunteers greet Zoo visitors, provide directions, answer the Zoo’s information phone line, and enhance visitor experience of the Zoo and Saint Louis.
We ask that our Guest Relations Booth Volunteers have at least one year of Zoo volunteer experience, problem solving skills, and a passion for sharing information on our amenities and unique attractions. 3.5 hours shifts in the morning and afternoon are available March-October. Volunteers have the option to sit or stand.
“Volunteers in the Guest Relations Booth partner with Zoo employees to provide answers pertaining to the Zoo and the local area. Their impact and good will can be felt throughout the St. Louis community. When a visitor has a question or needs directions, they come to Guest Relations. Between the volunteer and employee, we can answer anything!” - Vincent Correnti, Assistant Manager, Guest Relations
The Saint Louis Zoo provides college students, recent graduates and individuals with prior college coursework an opportunity to learn about the Zoo's zoological operations while obtaining valuable, hands-on work experience and an understanding of the Zoo's role in research and conservation.
Internships and externships are available in:
- Animal Management Areas
- Non-Animal Related Areas
Over 30 departments to choose from!
Visit our Internships and Externships page to learn more and apply to become a Saint Louis Zoo intern or extern today!
Share in the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Zoo’s commitment to the health and well-being of children and families in our community as a First Aid volunteer. Greet and provide nonmedical assistance to visitors as they utilize the Zoo’s family restroom, lactation room and first aid supplies such as Band-Aids and bee sting kits. 3.5 hours shifts in the morning and afternoon are available all year round. Volunteers have the option to sit or stand.
“First Aid Station volunteers are the first line in assisting our visitors when entering the station - whether a family needs the family restroom, a mom needs to pump or breastfeed, of if someone needs to see a Medic. Our First Aid volunteers are amazing because they care and consistently go above and beyond.” - Domini Montgomery, Manager, Safety & Risk Management
Help to ensure our visitors have an incredible experience on a Behind-the-Scene tour as they see and learn about our animals up close and personal! Our volunteer Tour Guides lead groups to their behind-the-scene locations, and are trained to share zoo history, our mission and information about animal husbandry with visitors from all over the world. We ask that our Tour Guides have at least one year of Zoo volunteer experience, great communications skills and a passion for sharing our mission.
“Volunteers are the front line for meeting our tour groups. They are the first face our guests see. They are thrilled to meet our guests and show them just how extraordinary we are as a zoo. Our Tour Guide volunteers are amazing because they are fun, energetic and knowledgeable about the Zoo. My favorite part about working with volunteers is sharing their enthusiasm! They work so hard and take on every task with pride.” - Mandi Nordin, Group Tours Agent
The Saint Louis Zoo offers two volunteer opportunities for teens, ages 15-18.
All volunteer programs are on hold until further notice. Please visit our virtual conservation learning pages for digital resources and virtual programs.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Saint Louis Zoo! We will not be offering the ZooTeens summer volunteer program in 2021. Please check back in January 2022 for the following summer.