Horticulture garden planting
Child looking at spiny tailed lizard
Keeper showing snake to visitors
Keepers walking Flamingos through zoo
Keeper letting child pet lizard
Keeper showing snake to children
Duke Energy Volunteers at the Zoo!

Group Volunteer Opportunities

If your organization is looking for opportunities to have fun while taking meaningful conservation action through community service, then join us at the Zoo to participate in hands-on projects on our grounds or at our farm.

Groups have the opportunity to work with Zoo staff on various projects that could involve helping with horticulture tasks like planting, mulching, weeding; helping the Zoo come to life for the epic Festival of Lights; contributing to the development of the brand-new Rockdale Urban Learning Garden; or working on projects at the beautiful Bowyer Farm. It will be fun, informative and your valuable time will be well-spent!

Submit a Request!


Who can join?

Corporate groups and college groups over the age of 18. Please note, most volunteer activities take place outside and can require some light lifting, reaching, carrying, standing and walking throughout Zoo grounds.

Group size: Minimum of 8 and generally a maximum of 30. If your group is larger than 30, please note that on your project request form and we can discuss possible options.

What can we do?

*Volunteer events typically run from 8:30am to 12:00pm*

  • Festival of Lights: Join our maintenance department and help prepare for the amazing Festival of Lights! *This option has a maximum group size of 15 volunteers.

Available Days: Tuesdays and Wednesdays (September and October)

  • Horticulture: Join our horticulture department in various gardening projects on or around Zoo grounds!

Available Days: Tuesdays and Thursdays (March through early December)

  • Bowyer FarmJoin us at Bowyer Farm to work on projects such as wetland restoration, native species planting, or collecting browse for our animals friends to munch on at the Zoo!

Available Days: Wednesdays and Fridays (Year-round)

How does it work?

Click here to submit your service project request and see available dates to serve alongside the departments noted above. We will respond to your request within five business days!

Service hour credits

At this time, we cannot accommodate court-ordered service hours.
Questions? Contact the AmeriCorps Volunteer & Community Engagement Member at [email protected].

Cincinnati ZooTeens

The ZooTeen program is perfect for teenagers who love nature, animals, and people! ZooTeens build knowledge, gain leadership experience, and develop professional skills while having a lot of FUN working with our Education, Visitor Experience, or Horticulture departments.

Click here to learn about the Education and Visitor Experience track:

ZooTeens have the opportunity to move through three different leadership tiers: Barn Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, and Bald Eagles. First-year ZooTeens are placed in the Barn Owl tier. This tier focuses on developing public speaking skills, confidence, and animal knowledge by interpreting various Wild Discover Zones around the Zoo and working with Summer Camp! ZooTeens who advance to the Red-tailed Hawk tier gain the additional opportunity to volunteer in the goat yard in Children’s Zoo, the Galapagos Tortoise Yard, and help coach Barn Owl ZooTeens. ZooTeens who advance to the Bald Eagle tier do all this and can have the opportunity to specialize their skills in focus areas such as environmental education, coaching peers, animal handling and interpretation, or research in our CREW division. Bald Eagle ZooTeens are expected to be leaders in the ZooTeen community through coaching the Barn Owl and Red-tailed Hawk tiers.

We are committed to our teens and this experience, we ask that teens in the program also be committed to the Zoo and meet the following time requirements.

Barn OwlsRed-tailed HawksBald Eagles
• 2 full day weeks of camp
• 1 half day shift per week on non-camp weeks
• 2 full day OR half day weeks of camp
• 1 half day shift per week on non-camp weeks
• 1 full day week of camp
• 1 half day shift per week on non-camp weeks
Minimum Requirement: 120 hours Minimum Requirement: 120 hours Minimum Requirement: 84 hours

*These hours are minimums and can be exceeded, ZooTeens can serve up to 40 hours (including lunch) per week, if they choose.

Shifts for the ZooTeen program are 8 am-12 pm and 1 pm-5 pm for weekly days on non-camp weeks.  When in summer camp, the ZooTeen agrees to serve 8 am-4: 15 pm Monday-Friday.

Click here to learn about the Plant and Pollinator track:

ZooTeens on the Plant and Pollinator track have the unique opportunity to help in the gardens on our spectacular grounds! Plant and Pollinator ZooTeens work alongside our Horticulture Department staff helping with planting, weeding, watering, monitoring pollinators and other various activities throughout the Zoo’s gardens.

We are committed to our teens and this experience, we ask that teens in the program also be committed to the Zoo and meeting the following time requirements.

ZooTeen Qualities, Requirements, and Application Information:

These are some of the qualities we look for when selecting ZooTeens:

  • A genuine passion for nature and conservation
  • A positive attitude and an inquisitive mind
  • A willingness to learn and challenge yourself to do new things
  • Reliable and able to commit to the hours required for the leadership tier for which you are selected

ZooTeens must also meet the following requirements:

  • Be available for an in-person interview with our staff
  • Be between the age of 13 and 17 by May 1, 2021
  • Attend a two-part orientation and training dates for the position based on leadership tier
    • All ZooTeens:
      • Orientation ONE dates: April 17 or April 18, 2021
      • Orientation TWO dates: May 15 or May 16, 2021
    • Returning Red-tailed Hawk and Bald Eagle ZooTeens:
      • Position-based training dates and times for 2021 TBD but will likely be in late April and early May
    • Once accepted, contribute a non-refundable $15 program fee and purchase a Zoo uniform shirt for $15. Should this cause economic hardship, these fees may be waived, just let us know.
    • Be able to receive important information via email and create a ZooTeen profile online where you can update your personal information and log service hours (NOTE: We respect your privacy and never share personal information with anyone outside our organization).

Our ZooTeen program is very popular and we do not have enough opportunities to accommodate all who want to participate, so please, do not be upset if you are not selected.  If you have been a teenage volunteer in past years, that is NOT a guarantee that you will be selected this year. Notification of decisions are sent via email on April 1, 2021.

Apply online by clicking here between December 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021. We do not accept late applications. 

Contact us:

Email: [email protected]

Volunteer Opportunities

Unfortunately, the Cincinnati Zoo is not accepting applications for new adult volunteers at this time. However, we look forward to welcoming new team members soon so continue to check this site for upcoming opportunities. If you have any other questions about the program, you can email the volunteer department at [email protected].

If you are interested in corporate or one-day opportunities, please check out the Group Opportunities tab.

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