Adventure. Conservation. Education. Community. These are the four pillars of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Mission. We are dedicated to creating adventure, conveying knowledge, conserving nature, and serving the community. Every day our wonderful volunteers help us achieve Our Vision- Inspiring Passion for Nature and Saving Wildlife for Future Generations. If you would like to be a part of this amazing place and our staff of nearly 800 volunteers who work to “inspire every visitor with wildlife every day”, click the appropriate tab below.

There are many volunteer opportunities for adults, VolunTeens and divers! Check out the FAQ for more info.

Adults (ages 18 and up)

Thank you for your interest in becoming a CZBG volunteer! New volunteer recruitment for the 2016 season is now OPEN. Please click here to complete your volunteer application. Applications are accepted from September 1st to October 31st, review and interviews occur in November and selections will be made in December. Training is from January through March and the summer season kicks off in April!

Contact us:

Email: volunteers@cincinnatizoo.org

Phone: 513-559-7755

Here is a list of qualities we look for when selecting volunteers!

  • A genuine interest in nature and conservation.
  • Friendly, outgoing, dependable. A positive attitude is a must!
  • Reliable and able to commit to a minimum number of shifts per month or season. This will vary a bit, depending on the area(s) for which you are selected. We ask that you contribute minimum of 50 hours of annually. Typically, our volunteers work one three-hour shift each week. This shift, either morning or afternoon, is generally on the same day each week but we do understand the need for flexible scheduling.

Volunteers must also meet the following requirements

  • Submit an online application and maintain a user account in our volunteer website.
  • Be available for an in-person interview with our staff.
  • Be comfortable working with people of diverse backgrounds and special needs. Volunteers are expected to interact with everyone in a fair and respectful manner.
  • Be aware that volunteer activities take place in all weather conditions (heat, cold, rain, snow, etc.) and can require lifting, climbing, reaching, carrying, walking long distances and standing for extended periods in all environmental conditions, both indoors and outside. Please note, the Zoo has a 65 acre campus with many hills and volunteer activities take place at a variety of locations throughout the extensive grounds.
  • Submit the required information for a background check.
  • Complete Zoo-wide and department-specific required training (details are noted below in the position descriptions).
  • Once accepted, contribute a non-refundable $25 program fee, and purchase a zoo uniform shirt for $15. Should this cause economic hardship for you these fees may be waived, just let us know!
  • Be able to receive important information via email such as animal and plant updates, continuing education and shift schedules, and special events invitations.
  • Annual festivities for volunteers
  • Opportunities for continuing education
  • Access to plant and animal updates, and “insider” information about what’s happening at the Zoo
  • Discounts to various lectures and Zoo events
  • Discount at the Zoo’s restaurants and Zoo Shops
  • 50% discount when purchasing general admission tickets
  • 20% discount on CZBG membership
  • Use of the Zoo library Monday through Friday
  • Bi-monthly newsletter
  • Free parking while working your volunteer assignment 

Below are brief descriptions of the various volunteer positions throughout the Zoo.

CarolynVolunteer Educators 

Our Volunteer Educators (VEs) are an important part of the CZBG Education Department. VEs create quality experiences for guests and support programs that promote the mission of the Zoo. As a VE, you will begin by staffing our Wild Discover Zones. These are “classrooms” on wheels placed at key exhibits throughout the Zoo that contain interpretive materials for fun activities and educational interactions with guests. VEs also help facilitate School Events and act as Hosts for school field trips.

Training: Zoo volunteer orientation and 8 training sessions with Zoo staff from January through March

Hours: You must be able to commit to 45 hours per year/15 hours per session (Jan-Apr, May-Aug, Sep-Dec)


crewlogoThe Carl H. Lindner Jr. Family Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife

CREW’s mission is Saving Species with Science. We use the latest in cutting edge technology guided by a heavy dose of common sense and driven by heartfelt passion (click here for more information). There are many ways to volunteer with CREW. Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Support Services / Receptionists
  • Hosting tours of the Public Exhibit
  • Animal Holding: Assisting keepers of the domestic cat colony with feeding, cleaning, and animal socializing
  • Endocrine lab and procedures team 

Training: Zoo Volunteer Orientation and role specific training in March.

Hours: You must be able to commit to 25 hours per year.


We aren’t just a Zoo, we are also a Botanical Garden! If you already love to garden, would like to learn more from experienced gardeners, or simply want to walk around the spectacular Zoo grounds and say “I did that”, join our Horticulture team. Our volunteers help grow, plant and maintain the dozens of beautiful garden beds around the Zoo. Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Gardening- Planting annuals and tulip bulbs, weeding, mulching, potting, etc.
  • Horticulture Liaison- Share information with guests on gardening for wildlife, pass out seed packets, answer gardening questions at our “What’s Blooming” station.
  • Horticulture Events- Help with events like the Native Plant Symposium, National Public Garden Day, The Tree Carnival and other events throughout the year.

Training: Zoo Volunteer Orientation and 3 training sessions with our Horticulture staff in March.

Hours: Horticulture volunteers typically work one 3 hour shift per week. Seasonal work days are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9:00am – 12:00pm.


This volunteer opportunity is for all the crafters out there! Zoosters attend weekly workshops on Tuesday mornings in the Zoo’s Education Department and make craft items to sell during the Festival of Lights and other special events. All profits from sales are donated to the Zoo to help cover the cost of signs, graphics and other Education needs.

Training: Zoo Volunteer Orientation. No formal training is provided, this opportunity is for people who enjoy crafting and love the Zoo.

Hours: Typically, Zoosters meet for 2 hours a week on Tuesday mornings, however individual commitments vary and many Zoosters work from home.

VolunTeens (ages 13 - 17)


This program is designed just for teens who love nature and the Zoo! As a VolunTeen (VT), you’ll get to experience this amazing place from a whole new perspective and gain an appreciation of all that goes on behind-the-scenes. There are VolunTeen opportunities in the Education Department, Children’s Zoo, Horticulture, Green Team and T.R.I.B.E.

Along with having an amazing Zoo experience, VolunTeens also enjoy a discount at the Zoo’s restaurants and shops, and a 50% discount on general admission tickets.

Our VolunTeen Program is very popular and we do not have enough opportunities to accommodate all who want to participate, so please don’t be upset if you are not selected. We often have twice as many applicants as we have available spots! If you have been a VolunTeen in past years, that is NOT a guarantee that you will be selected this year. We do keep a waiting list and sometimes those on the list are brought into the program when others are unable to fulfill their commitment or meet our high standards.

VolunTeen opportunities are…


A great place to start! You must be at least 13 years old, and able to commit to work a full week, Monday through Friday. You may choose to work as many weeks as you like, but a minimum of 2 weeks is required. You are strongly encouraged to work full day shifts, but a.m. and p.m. shifts are available. Teen Educators And Mentors (T.E.A.M.) Teachers’ Aides assist the Education staff with the Zoo’s summer camp program. You will help prepare for the daily classes, assist children with crafts and activities, and help keep campers together during hikes in the Zoo.


You must be at least 15 years old with at least 2 years of experience as T.E.A.M. Teachers’ Aide and able to commit to a full week, Monday through Friday. You may choose to work as many weeks as you like, but a minimum of 3 weeks is required. There are a.m. and p.m. shifts, however T.E.A.M. Leaders must commit to full days for at least two of the three required weeks. As a T.E.A.M. Leader, you will perform all the same duties as the Teachers’ aides, but you will also act as a role model and mentor to other T.E.A.M. teens, are responsible for checking in/out other T.E.A.M. teens as they arrive/leave for the day, and assist the Education staff with the retrieval and return of select education animal ambassadors used in summer programs.


Perfect for teens who love to be outside and get dirty! You must be at least 13 years old and able to commit to one four-hour shift per week, or a minimum of 40 hours per summer. The Garden Assistant Program is offered through the Horticulture Department. VolunTeens help with gardening activities like planting, weeding, watering, and various other jobs throughout the Zoo’s beautiful gardens. You must be able to work outdoors throughout the summer. This is a unique opportunity to work in many areas of the Zoo and learn how we create and maintain our spectacular grounds.


The Buzz Troop is a new exciting opportunity to work with the Horticulture Department! Teens will monitor pollinators and plants throughout the Zoo’s gardens through the summer. You will help demonstrate and promote gardening for wildlife. The Buzz Troop will also monitor and record pollination activities. This is a great opportunity to learn how to identify bees, butterflies and flowers. You must be able to work outdoors, communicate with visitors and be detail oriented. Positions are limited.


Make a difference, change the world! Help Zoo visitors better understand how fun and easy it is to care for our planet. Green Teens interact with Zoo guests to answer questions about sustainability and raise awareness of the “Greenest Zoo in America”. Green Teens give tours of the Go Green Garden Exhibit, create and share fun hands-on activities, and inspire guests to go green. New for 2015 will be leading themed weeks of activities and talks in the Go Green Garden exhibit. Extensive training will be offered to ensure teens are comfortable with the Zoo’s green initiatives, as well as general green topics. Opportunities for Green Teens include, but are not limited to, staffing the Go Green Garden exhibit, developing green tips and hands-on activities, assisting with neighborhood and park clean-ups, raising awareness about the Zoo’s Community Engagement efforts regarding sustainability, and more. These opportunities provide teens with experiences that expand their skill set such as public speaking, sustainability knowledge, and writing skills. Priority will be given to teens that have a passion, knowledge and interest for green living; strong, public speaking skills; and demonstrate initiative and creativity. To apply for Green Teens, you must be at least 13 years old and able to commit to at least two four-hour shifts per week, and a minimum of 100 hours per summer. Limited positions are available.

Zoo T.R.I.B.E. (Teen Recruits Inspiring By Example)

In this exciting program, teens work with keepers, educators, and administrators to learn and practice animal care and handling, public engagement with nature, and environmental education! As a T.R.I.B.E. member, you will have the opportunity to advance through a variety of positions including basic animal handling, husbandry, public shows and demonstrations. If you are selected to be a TRIBE member, your Zoo experience will begin by interacting with the public in the Spaulding Children’s Zoo. As you progress through the program, you will have the opportunity to impact visitors Zoo-wide! The goal of T.R.I.B.E. is for T.R.I.B.E. members to become leaders in their peer groups, learn to be independent and self-driven, and become valuable members of the Zoo and conservation community. To apply for T.R.I.B.E., you must be at least 13 years of age and able to commit to three 4-hour shifts per week (140 hours per summer). Seasonal and year-round positions are available, and teens agreeing to year-round positions will be eligible for further professional development, including becoming T.R.I.B.E. Leaders that oversee newly-minted T.R.I.B.E. members.

VolunTeen Qualities, Requirements and Application Information

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

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

VolunTeens must also meet the following requirements:

  • Be available for an in-person interview with our staff
  • Be 13 years old by May 1st
  • Attend one of the Orientation sessions in late April, 2015.
  • Once accepted, contribute a non-refundable $10 program fee, and purchase a zoo uniform shirt for $15. Should this cause economic hardship for you these fees may be waived, just let us know!
  • Be able to receive important information via email, and create a CZBG VolunTeen Profile online where you can update your personal information and log hours (NOTE: We respect your privacy and never share personal information with anyone outside our organization.)

The VolunTeen application submission window for Summer 2015 is now CLOSED.  Applications are accepted December 1st through February 28th.

Many thanks for your interest in our VolunTeen Program!

Contact us:

Email: volunteers@cincinnatizoo.org

Phone: 513-559-7755 


Dive In

Check back often for updated information on new volunteer diving opportunities!

DanlogoDAN Insurance Policies

–          DAN Dive Travel Insurance

–          DAN Membership and Diving Insurance

If you are in need of Diving or Trip Insurance, why not get it through the Zoo’s DAN Industry Partnership.  The cost is the same as it normally would be, but the Zoo gets points for each membership it sells or renews, which in turn can be used to purchase DAN safety equipment for zoo areas. Follow the links below for more information.


Can I work directly with animals as a volunteer?

No. Our well trained keeper staff works with our Zoo animals. However, active CZBG volunteers may become eligible to be trained as animal handlers with our interpretive collection. This requires an internal recommendation and separate application. The main role and purpose of CZBG volunteers is to interact with Zoo guests.

Can I shadow a Zookeeper?

No. Due to liability issues, we do not allow shadowing of Zoo personnel.

Can I do my Community Service hours at the Zoo?

No. Working on Zoo grounds in any capacity requires training so short-term volunteering is not possible.