If you share our core values, perhaps you belong in a Zoo (our Zoo)! Check out the career opportunities below.

Internships

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Internship Program is designed for current college students or recent college graduates. Under the guidance and supervision of Zoo staff, interns will develop skills and gain valuable real-world experience in their field of interest.

The CZBG Intern Program provides students with a unique opportunity to work and learn from Zoo staff, gain valuable hands-on experience, develop professional contacts in the Zoo community, and attend lectures and continuing education courses presented by staff from various departments. Topics include basic animal husbandry, operant conditioning, enrichment, nutrition, veterinary care, public speaking and presentations, green practices and conservation, and job-seeking/interview skills.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will meet the following requirements: 1) Current college student working toward a degree in a related field or a recent graduate with a related degree; 2) hard-working, highly motivated, and professional; 3) demonstrate commitment to working with children, adults, and wildlife in a zoo setting; and 4) comfortable working with and handling many different species encompassing all classes of animals.

Successful candidates will embrace and continuously demonstrate the Core Values of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, which include, but are not limited to: Building Collaborative Relationships through open communication and active listening: having Positivity and Energy through positive attitudes, and making time to celebrate successes; having Accountability, Mutual Trust and Respect through taking ownership of issues, learning from mistakes, treating others with respect, holding self and others accountable and doing what you say you’re going to do; possessing Progressive Thinking through being a self-directed learner, and learning from others, thinking creatively, challenging the status quo respectively, and demonstrating relentless pursuit for improvement; and having Pride, Passion & a Sense of Ownership through respect and care for the living collection, going the extra mile, always being an advocate for the Zoo and demonstrating strong personal ownership.[/symple_toggle]

Working Conditions/Other Requirements:  All internships are unpaid. While performing the duties of this position, the intern is regularly required to stand, walk, climb or balance and grasp objects.  In addition, the intern is regularly exposed to outside weather conditions; must be able to lift & move 50 pounds without mechanical assistance. The CZBG is open 364 days a year. Interns can expect to have a regular schedule but may be scheduled to participate on some weekends, holidays, etc.

  • All interns must be fully vaccinated for COVID and provide documentation of the date
  • Appointment is conditional upon passing a pre-start drug & nicotine screen
  • Must provide a negative TB test result before beginning the internship
  • Candidates must provide proof of current medical insurance and maintain this insurance for the duration of the internship

Internships are 14 weeks and typically follow a full-time workweek pattern: 4-5 consecutive days per week, ~8 hours per day, generally from 7-8 am to 3-4 pm. The department supervisor sets final schedules. 

To apply for an internship, qualified applicants must apply via our online application on our website. Please be prepared to provide the following documents and information with your application:

  • Cover letter and resume (PDF format required)
  • Contact information for one professional reference

Summer Internship Session: Mid-May through mid-August. Applications are accepted from January 1 – January 31.

Exact start and end dates are noted in each area’s description.


Current Internship Opportunities (Unpaid)

Click on the position to view descriptions of each area and/or specific internship goals.

Africa (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Please check out the following link to learn more about this exhibit/space and the animals in our care here: Africa.

Commissary (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

This Internship provides work experience within a comprehensive nutrition program and includes animal food production, as well as animal nutrition research components.  Interns do not have direct animal contact. The Commissary is where all food, supplies, ordering, receiving, preparation of, and delivering for all dietary needs of all the animal collection takes place. Interns assist with preparing food for all zoo animals under the direction of supervising personnel, assist with inventory and quality control of all perishable foods, assist with the cleanliness of all the Commissary areas, and assist in the delivery of all food/supplies to all animal areas daily.

Animal Excellence Research (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

This professional internship at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will assist the Animal Excellence Coordinator in implementing an evidence-based approach to animal care, excellence, and management.  Using science to better understand animal behavior, animal welfare, and our visitors’ perception of animal well-being is integral to the zoo’s mission. It is the best way to promote a thriving animal community and an optimal visitor experience. Interns will assist with applied behavioral research projects and other initiatives related to animal welfare and overall excellence and will attain practical experience conducting research and working in a zoological facility.

Please check out the following link to learn more about the internship’s specific goals here: Animal Excellence Research Internship Description.

Animal Nutrition (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

This internship involves learning commissary management, food safety/handling, quality control, diet formulation, diet records, and continual assessment of animal condition for the ~1600 animals exhibited at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The intern, working alongside the Curator of Nutrition, would work closely with animal management, keepers, researchers, and veterinary staff, to provide diet evaluations, animal body condition assessments, and product recommendations, along with assisting commissary staff in product purchasing. The intern would be exposed to the development and supervision of a local browse program to fulfill the nutrition and enrichment needs of the collection while managing the commissary budget. The intern would track, organize and create diet records as part of learning and conduct research deemed appropriate in the effective and applied animal nutrition program, such as food nutrient analysis (sample processing, data collection, and entry) and quality control (forages, feeds, browses, etc.). No direct animal contact takes place in this role. Some computer experience is preferred.

Aviculture Department (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Please check out the following link to learn more about this exhibit/space and the animals in our care here: Aviculture.

Cat Ambassador Program (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Learn the inner workings of a show department and work with the animal trainers of the Cat Ambassador Program. The ideal candidate must be motivated and interested in interacting with guests and improving the overall visitor experience. Strong customer service skills are a must. The Cat Ambassador intern will be responsible for crowd control and visitor engagement during our public shows. Species in the ambassador programs include cheetah, ocelot, serval, red river hog, and domestic cats and dogs.

Children's Zoo (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Please check out the following link to learn more about this exhibit/space and the animals in our care here: Children’s Zoo.

Elephant Department (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Please check out the following link to learn more about this exhibit/space and the animals in our care here: Elephant Reserve.

Environmental Education (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

The Zoo’s Education Department taps into the skills, innovation, assistance, energy, and talent of our interns but also strives to provide interns with real-world experiences that can translate into career preparedness. Interns learn many aspects of informal education, including interpretive training and storytelling skills, public speaking, participatory education and inquiry, classroom management, and curriculum development for camps and programs. Interns will be responsible for completing a project related directly to the programs they are assisting with, observing, and potentially teaching.

Horticulture - Native Plant/Wetland (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Interns gain first-hand experience in the maintenance and expansion of the Zoo’s Native Plant Program. Interns will also help grow native federally endangered species, such as Short’s goldenrod, Cumberland sandwort, northern monkshood, running buffalo clover, Virginia spirea, and other endangered species. Work also includes propagation, such as divisions, cuttings, and seed collecting and germinating. An intern will also conduct small research comparisons on native plants and growing conditions. Interns may also work in the CREW lab, which is project dependent. Interns work with native flora, including planting, pruning, watering, mulching, and weeding, along with labeling established native gardens. Interns will also help evaluate flora on which species make good landscape plants. Interns will learn identification, cultural requirements, and various propagation techniques for native flora. They may also spend time at our off-site wetlands space at Bowyer Farm. The ideal candidate will be hard-working with a sincere interest in further developing their horticultural knowledge and skills in a public garden setting and students who are motivated to take full advantage of the opportunities provided.  Must be a student currently enrolled in horticulture, landscape architecture, or a closely related field.  A knowledge and passion for plants are required; a positive attitude is a must to join our team!

Horticulture - Landscape Design and Maintenance (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

A unique internship experience in public horticulture combining animal immersion habitats in a botanical garden environment. The Botanical Garden features a wide diversity of trees, shrubs, perennials, stunning summer annual displays, and a large production nursery. Our internship program offers students a unique opportunity aimed at allowing interns to improve their horticultural knowledge and skills relevant to caring for and managing CZBG’s diverse living collection and grounds.  Working alongside and learning from professional horticulture staff, interns will have the opportunity to gain experience through participation in activities such as pruning, arboriculture, plant propagation, greenhouse and nursery management, IPM, plant records, and as basic horticultural tasks. The interns’ daily tasks may include assisting with planting, watering, weeding, pruning, mulching, and daily garden maintenance. In addition, the intern will gain a variety of experience in many facets of public horticulture, including record keeping, plant identification, and visitor interaction.  The student should have enthusiasm for working in a public garden and the flexibility to perform various tasks. The ideal candidate will be hard-working with a sincere interest in further developing their horticultural knowledge and skills in a public garden setting and students who are motivated to take full advantage of the opportunities provided.  Must be a student currently enrolled in horticulture, landscape architecture, or a closely related field.  A knowledge and passion for plants are required; a positive attitude is a must to join our team!

Interpretive Collection (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

The Interpretive Collection houses the Zoo’s animal ambassadors. Our diverse collection of 200 individual animals encompasses 75 species, including a wide variety of reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, and invertebrates. We handle our animals daily through positive reinforcement techniques. Two-toed sloths, Greater flamingos, Bat-Eared foxes, Six-banded armadillos, Eurasian Eagle-owl, and Cave-dwelling rat snakes are just a handful of species you will be working with!

Invertebrate Husbandry and Display (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Please check out the following link to learn more about this exhibit/space and the animals in our care here: World of the Insect.

Night Hunters (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Please check out the following link to learn more about this exhibit/space and the animals in our care here: Night Hunters.

Primate Department (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Interns will complete a 14-week internship and leave the program with skillsets to successfully become a zookeeper. Time will be split between Jungle Trails (7 weeks) and Primate Center (7 weeks), with the potential to stay in a single area for the entire 14 weeks.

Jungle Trails cares for the following species: bonobo, orangutan, aye-aye, sifaka, potto, pygmy slow loris, galago, guernon, Angolan colobus, Saki monkey, howler monkey, Mueller, and white-handed gibbon, and a few bird species.

Primate Center cares for the following species: gorilla, ring-tailed lemur, black and white colobus, buff cheeked, and siamang gibbon.

Tasks & learning opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Cleaning and preparing various habitats and animal spaces
  • Diet preparation
  • Choosing and distributing enrichment
  • Interns will complete projects including designing enrichment, repropping a habitat space, and documenting animal behavior through ethograms
  • Assisting keepers with various other tasks

Please check out the following links to learn more about the habitats and the animals in our care here:

Reptiles/Dragons (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Please check out the following link to learn more about this exhibit/space and the animals in our care here: Reptiles/Dragons.

Rhino Reserve (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Please check out the following link to learn more about this exhibit/space and the animals in our care here: Rhino Reserve.

Vet Tech (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Please check out the following link to learn more about this department and internship here: Coming Soon!

Wild Encounters (May 15 – Aug 18, 2023)

Wild Encounters Interns have the opportunity to be part of our Visitor Engagement effort to encourage our visitors to get “close enough to care.” The Wild Encounters team can be found throughout the park doing animal demonstrations, staffing our feeding stations, and taking animal walks. The team is made up of about 50 staff, volunteers, and interns that carry out the mission of the Zoo and “inspiring every visitor with wildlife, every day.” Wild Encounters handle animals from cockroaches to snakes to armadillos and have lots of fun along the way. Interns will gain interpretive skills, animal handling skills, and valuable experience. If you are pursuing a career in informal education in a Zoo setting, this internship is a great start.


The application window for the Summer 2023 session (May – Aug) will be open from January 1 through January 31, 2023 

Thank you for your interest!  If you have additional questions, please email [email protected].


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