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Volunteering at the Zoo

Are you looking for a way to give back to the
St. 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?

Teen and Internship Opportunities

Click on the opportunities below to see which is right for you.

Adult Volunteer Requirements

  1. Represent and share the Zoo’s mission by encouraging the support and enriching the experience of our guests.
  2. Be at least 18 years of age (ages 15 to 18 for teen programs).
  3. Commit to volunteering at least one year.
  4. Give a minimum of 30 hours of service per year.
  5. Attend an interview, complete an application and background check, and attend 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.

Steps To Become An Adult Volunteer

  1. Browse our volunteer program descriptions.
  2. Give us a call at (314) 646-4670. The Volunteer Services team is happy to share more information on program details, upcoming training opportunities and requirements. We're excited to learn how you'd like to contribute to the Zoo's mission!
  3. Attend an interview and complete an application and background check.
  4. Upon acceptance, attend required volunteer orientation and applicable trainings.
    • 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.

Hear what others have to say about being a Saint Louis Zoo volunteer!

Adult Volunteer Opportunities (Year-Round)

Click on the opportunities below to see which is right for you.

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 guest 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. Guests 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, then being an ambassador is a great fit for you!” – Sue, Ambassador Volunteer

Spend your days in a tropical paradise! The Saint Louis Zoo's 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 two-hour shifts, Monday through Sunday. Volunteers have the option to sit or stand.

Do you love animals and people? Would you like to be a part of the Saint Louis Zoo's efforts to help our guests and the greater community understand and appreciate nature? Then consider becoming a Zoo docent.

Docents, managed by the Zoo's Education team, are volunteer educators and interpreters. They engage Zoo guests and school groups through conversation, tours on site, and at community events about animals, the natural world and our conservation work. Choose a schedule that works for you! Specialized training and ongoing continuing education is required. Docents serve 37 hours or more per year, depending on chosen commitment level. Click here for more information.

“Working with our 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 Phillips, 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 and engaging families and children with creative games and crafts, to assisting food and drink vendors. We encourage you to “try out” volunteering at one of our upcoming events!

“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 team

Help guests 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, as well as jewelry, Zoo apparel and plush toys, our volunteers ensure guests 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 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 events, event preparations, gardening and other projects.

Please note:

  • The Zoo cannot guarantee volunteer placement. Volunteer opportunities and availability vary based on Zoo needs.
  • Volunteer activities are designed for groups of 10 to 25 people and typically take two to three 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 one 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 eight 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 guests get the most out of their day at the Zoo. Working alongside a Guest Services employee, Guest Relations Booth volunteers greet Zoo guests, provide directions, answer the Zoo’s information phone line, and enhance guest experience of the Zoo and St 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. Three-and-a-half hour shifts in the morning and afternoon are available March through 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 goodwill can be felt throughout the St. Louis community. When a guest 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

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 non-medical assistance to guests as they utilize the Zoo’s family restroom, lactation room and first aid supplies such as Band-Aids and bee sting kits. Three-and-a-half hour shifts in the morning and afternoon are available all year. Volunteers have the option to sit or stand.

“First Aid Station volunteers are the first line in assisting our guests 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, Director, Safety & Risk Management

Help ensure our guests have an incredible experience on an animal tour as they see and learn about our animals! 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 guests 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 first faces our guests see. 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

Volunteer Benefits

  • Free volunteer parking
  • Discounts on food and retail purchases
  • Monthly lectures by Animal Care or Education team members
  • Opportunities to attend trainings and participate in committees
  • Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event
  • Volunteer awards for service milestones
  • Knowledge that you contributed to the Zoo’s mission!

Frequently Asked Quesitons

The minimum age for our teen programs is 15 years old. The minimum age for our adult opportunities and internships is 18 years old.

No. Our volunteer opportunities are focused on interacting with our guests. Volunteers should not expect contact with animals.

Yes, we provide free parking on the Zoo parking lots for volunteers.

The Zoo does not offer court-ordered community service.

We are unable to accommodate requests to shadow staff at the Zoo. You can learn more about how to become a keeper here.

If you have additional questions, call Volunteer Services at (314) 781-0900, ext. 4670.