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.

Working Conditions/Other Requirements: 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.

*For a minimal fee, housing may be available for a limited number of interns. 

**Internships are currently unpaid, however, we are in the process of determining how to be more inclusive and provide some financial support for our intern program participants. We will update this page with more information when available.

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.

Applicants are welcome to apply to more than one Internship Opportunity per session. To do so, applicants must complete a separate application per opportunity by clicking on the specific link within each description. Intern applicants can only be accept for one opportunity per session. 


Current Internship Opportunities (Unpaid)

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

Africa (May 15 – Aug 20, 2023)

This voluntary 14-week internship program provides qualified individuals with professional experience in the daily care of the department’s animals and the opportunity to support animal care staff. Africa department interns are supervised by animal care staff within the department. The main role of interns is to work with animal care staff to keep areas clean, thus helping contribute to the welfare of the animals. Cleaning and maintaining our various habitats and behind-the-scenes holding areas may include: raking and shoveling, moving heavy wheelbarrows, lifting bales of hay, hosing and scrubbing, etc. Other duties include preparing daily food diets such as cutting and weighing out produce and meat diets and helping maintain behind-the-scenes keeper spaces as well. Interns will have the opportunity to observe animal training sessions and various forms of routine husbandry including: giraffe foot care, blood draw and injection training with a variety of species, bird capture and restraint for wing trims and beak coping, and the management of our recently expanded hippo bloat.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Provide support to Africa Department staff
  • Enhance productivity and efficiency of the Africa Department team
  • Allow qualified individuals the opportunity to gain professional experience as a keeper intern at a world-class zoological facility
  • Provide an opportunity to gain a strong understanding of potential careers in animal husbandry, training, and conservation education

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 20, 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 Ambassador Team (May 15 – Aug 20, 2023)

The Animal Ambassador Team cares for 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!

Animal Excellence Research (May 15 – Aug 20, 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 20, 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 20, 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 20, 2023)

Come learn from one of the oldest, most well-established cheetah running programs in the country! We not only have ambassador cheetahs but also provide care for an ocelot, servals, red river hog, crested porcupine, domestic cats, and dogs. In this internship, you will learn the inner workings of a show department and work with the animal trainers of the Cat Ambassador Program. The ideal candidate has a passion for learning and conservation education. Strong customer service skills are a must. The Cat Ambassador Intern will be interacting with guests and improving the overall visitor experience during our public shows and also be responsible for daily husbandry, diet prep, and enrichment with the supervision of CAP trainer staff.

Children's Zoo (May 15 – Aug 20, 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 20, 2023)

Interns will complete a 14-week internship and provides qualified individuals with professional experience in the daily care of Asian elephants at a world-class zoological facility. Elephant department interns are supervised by the animal care staff within the elephant department.

Tasks & learning opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Cleaning elephant indoor and outdoor habitats involving raking, shoveling, carrying heavy wheelbarrows, lifting hay bales, and maintaining sand areas
  • Diet preparation: cutting produce and preparing hay
  • Choosing and distributing enrichment
  • Observe elephant training sessions and husbandry, such as foot care, exercise, and bathing
  • Gain a strong understanding of potential careers in animal husbandry, training, and conservation education
  • Assisting keepers with various other tasks

Please check out the following link to learn more about the Elephant Reserve habitat and animals

Elephant Reserve.

Environmental Education (May 15 – Aug 20, 2023)

Interns with the Zoo’s Education Department will develop skills, talents, and passions for a career in informal or environmental education.  Interns will also network within the Zoo setting. Summer Camp is a time of hustle, bustle, games, crafts, animal encounters, and so much more—it is all hands, paws, claws, and flippers on deck!   

Tasks and Learning Opportunities include, but are not limited to:   

  • Inquiry and participant-led education  
  • Interpretation  
  • Storytelling  
  • Classroom management  
  • Curriculum development   
  • Public Speaking 
  • Leadership 
  • Task organization and coordination  
  • Interns may complete a project related directly to the programs they are assisting with, observing, and potentially teaching.

Horticulture - Native Plant/Wetland (May 15 – Aug 20, 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 - Garden Education & Engagement (May 15 – Aug 20, 2023)

This internship provides a unique opportunity to apply an environmental education background to a public garden setting.  The intern in this position will contribute to our on-going garden education efforts by actively engaging visitors through garden activities and interpretive programming, helping to keep garden engagement station stocked with interpretive supplies, meeting with volunteers, and assisting with the creation of new garden engagement programs and activities that reflect our current horticultural mission, initiatives, and programs.

The intern in this position will have the opportunity to participate in interpretive trainings, and gain skills in inquiry and participant-led education, storytelling, public speaking, and curriculum development.  The intern may also receive opportunities to present newly developed programs and activities to garden engagement volunteers.  Occasional opportunities to complete tasks in the garden that will support an understanding of our horticulture programs and aide in the development of curriculum and engagement activities will also be available to this intern.

The ideal candidate will possess a passion for sharing information and engaging with the public, enthusiasm for public gardens and horticultural programs, and the desire to inspire people to take actions that promote conservation and co-existence between people and wildlife.  Students currently enrolled in Environmental Education, Horticulture, or a closely related field are encouraged to apply.  Horticulture and/or knowledge of plants and gardening preferred, but not required.  Part-time or full-time opportunities available.

Horticulture - Plant Trials (May 15 – Aug 20, 2023)

This internship offers an unique opportunity to participate in one of the region’s most expansive plant trialing programs.  The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is home to a diverse collection of plant material, stunning display gardens, and complex immersive habitats.  Since 2002, the Zoo’s Best Plant Trials program has endeavored to trial new cultivars of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees in landscape settings to inform homeowners, landscapers, and urban planners of valuable plants for use across the landscape.  During the past 20 years, we have trialed thousands of plants throughout approximately 70 acres of garden space.  Our trials program evaluates plants from the country’s leading breeders and reports performance findings back to these companies.   We also generate lists of well-performing plants and recommend these to regional growers, landscapers, and homeowners.  Plant lists are shared with the public through symposiums, classes, public speaking events, brochures, and online resources.

The intern in this position will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with a great diversity of plant material, gain insight into the path a plant takes from breeding to it’s release on the market, and impact the plant selections that are recommended through our Zoo’s Best Plant Trialing Program.  Day-to-day tasks of this internship include: labeling annuals and perennials in the gardens, collecting data on the performance of plants in the landscape (primarily annuals & perennials) and their possible value to other wildlife, photographing trial plants, labeling plant photos files on the computer, contributing to plant trials reports, and assisting with public trials days and events.  The intern in this position will also have the opportunity to attend educational events and field trips, attend tours of the gardens with suppliers and breeders, and to shadow other gardeners in the care of the plants being trialed within the landscape.

The ideal candidate will possess a knowledge and passion for plants, flexibility to perform various tasks, and a positive attitude.  Students currently enrolled in Horticulture or a closely related field are encouraged to apply.  Part Time or Full Time Opportunities Available.

Horticulture - Non-Native Invasive Plant Species (May 15 – Aug 20, 2023)

This internship offers a unique opportunity for the intern to become familiar with regional Non-native Invasive Plant Species (NNIS) and management strategies appropriate for public garden settings.  The intern in this position will contribute to the Non-native Invasive Plant Species Removal Program at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and other affiliated locations.  The intern’s day-to-day tasks will include: identification and mapping of NNIS, research and implementation of appropriate control measures, physical removal of NNIS with volunteers when necessary, documentation of effectivity of control methods, research strategies to replant control areas, and replant control areas when possible.  The intern in this position will also assist in the creation of a document outlining the CZBG Non-native Plant Species Control Plan and potentially communicate and collaborate with industry partners to identify and prepare for future Non-native invasive plant species.

The intern in this position will have the opportunity to gain skills and experience in plant identification, mapping, research and implementation of NNIS control measures, evaluation and documentation of successful control methods, development and implementation of NNIS management strategies, communication, and collaboration.

The ideal candidate will possess a knowledge and passion for plants, flexibility to perform various tasks, and a positive attitude.  Students currently enrolled in Horticulture, Environmental Sciences, or a closely related field are encouraged to apply.  Part-time or full-time opportunities available.

Invertebrate Husbandry and Display (May 15 – Aug 20, 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 20, 2023)

Interns will complete a 14-week internship and leave the program with the skillset needed to successfully become a zookeeper. Time will be spent in both the Night Hunters building and Cat Canyon. 

Night Hunters is home to the following species: aardvark, aardwolf, Arabian sand cat, binturong, black-footed cat, common vampire bat, fennec fox, Indian flying fox, large-spotted genet, ocelot, Pallas’s cat, potto, ringtail, southern three-banded armadillo, and tawny frogmouth.  

Cat Canyon is home to the following species: cougar, Malayan tiger, and snow leopard. 

Tasks & learning opportunities include, but are not limited to: 

  • Cleaning and preparing various habitats and animal spaces 
  • Diet preparation 
  • Choosing and distributing enrichment 
  • Interns may complete projects including designing enrichment and documenting animal behavior through ethograms 
  • Assisting keepers with various other husbandry tasks 

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

Primate Department (May 15 – Aug 20, 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 20, 2023)

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

Veldt (May 15 – Aug 20, 2023)

Interns will complete a 14-week internship and leave the program with the skillsets to successfully pursue a career in becoming a zookeeper.

The Veldt Department takes care of the following species: black rhinoceros, Plains zebras, Visayan warty pigs, Eastern Mountain bongos, okapi, and East African crowned crane.

Tasks & learning opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Cleaning and preparing various habitats and animal spaces
  • Diet preparation
  • Choosing and distributing enrichment
  • Assisting keepers with various other tasks

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

Vet Tech (May 15 – Aug 20, 2023)

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

Wild Encounters (May 15 – Aug 20, 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.

Wings of Wonder (May 15 - Aug 20, 2023)

This internship aims to provide interns with basic husbandry skills of birds, public speaking opportunities, and observations of training in a show setting. Interns at the Wings of Wonder will have the opportunity to learn husbandry and animal training in a fast-paced environment. During the summer, we have a Bird Experience twice daily, five days a week. Individuals must be self-motivated and willing to engage with the public.

The Wings of Wonder Team cares for various animals such as Macaws, Amazons, Eagle, Hawk, Falcons, Owls, Vultures, Cockatoos, Hornbills, Pigeons, and Rats.

Tasks and responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Must be able to lift 50 lbs and work in all weather conditions (Especially heat.)
  • Must be able to follow directions and balance multiple tasks.
  • Cleaning, disinfecting and preparing animal spaces.
  • Provide crowd management and public interactions in the theater.
  • Choosing and distributing enrichment, as well as actively observing animal behaviors.
  • Interns will complete a project assigned by the intern coordinator.
  • Assisting keepers with various other tasks

Please check out the following link to learn more about this department and internship here: Wings of Wonder

 


The application window for the Summer 2023 session (May – Aug) is CLOSED.  

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


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