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Volunteer

More than 350,000 visitors come through Zoo Boise’s gates each year. We depend on our dedicated volunteers to provide a fun, educational, and conservation-driven experience for each and every person that comes to Zoo Boise.

Whether interpreting exhibits, assisting animal care staff, aiding with education programs, greeting guests, or helping with special events, volunteers are a crucial part of turning the act of visiting the Zoo into a conservation action.

No prior animal experience required, but a passion for wildlife and conservation is!

Apply to be a volunteer today

APPLY TO VOLUNTEER TODAY:

Testimonials

What volunteers say about volunteering at Zoo Boise:

“The thing I love about Zoo Boise is that guests actively help conserve wild animal populations and increase species survival just by visiting.”

“I am a better student, member of the community, and potential DVM candidate because of my time spent at Zoo Boise.”

“I love Zoo Boise! The people who work there are fabulous. Everyone is nice and so caring about the animals and dedicated to their well-being.”

“One forgets about the severe threats to habitat whether from development, pollution, poaching, or neglect and its effect on keeping wildlife wild.  My hope is to help bridge the gap between fiction and fact, particularly for the youth.”

“I feel that the relationship between the zoo and its volunteers is very symbiotic. I have been given by the zoo as much if not more than I gave to the zoo.”

“Zoo Boise is making a huge difference in the zoo world. We really are making a difference with our conservation programs and it’s so rewarding to be a part of it! All you have to do is go to the zoo!”

“The Zoo every weekend is something I look forward to all week!”

“Being able to do what I do at the zoo, has been the most amazing experience for me, in many ways”

“Have you met these animals? They’re amazing!

APPLY TO BE A VOLUNTEER TODAY

Zoo Naturalists

Zoo Naturalists work with the public to raise funds for conservation and educate visitors about the zoo, our exhibits, and our conservation mission.

Volunteers rotate through five areas as needed including: butterfly exhibit, education discovery stations, zoo farm, giraffe feeding encounter, and the sloth bear feeding encounter.

Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must commit to one 4-hour shift per week during one of the following:
    • March-October
    • March-August
    • May-October
  • Shift times are 9:30am -1:30pm or 12:45pm – 4:45pm; Monday – Sunday
    • Weekend volunteers have the option to volunteer every-other weekend
  • Commit to volunteering at one special event OR after-hours rental per year
  • Participate in an 8-hour volunteer orientation
  • Successfully complete an introductory period of 24 hours
  • Pay a $40.00 program fee
    • Note: financial assistance is available, please contact the Volunteer Services Office for more details
  • Abide by all policies in the Volunteer Handbook
  • Enjoy working with people of all ages
  • Desire to further develop customer service, public speaking, and teaching skills (training provided)
  • Interested in educating the public about wildlife conservation
  • Must submit a negative TB test annually at own expense
  • Must be willing to submit to a Federal background check if deemed necessary by Zoo Boise staff

Animal Care Volunteers

Animals are the reason visitors attend Zoo Boise! Animal Care volunteers assist the Animal Care staff in creating a comfortable home for the animals and beautiful exhibits for visitors to see. They also speak with the public about the animals, the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund, and assist with daily keeper chats.

Positions are available in the Africa/Penguin and Small Animal Kingdom/Pampas sections. Due to the danger involved, volunteers do not work in enclosures of large carnivores or inside primate enclosures.

General responsibilities include: Exhibit maintenance (removing feces and bedding from exhibits and cleaning the glass), diet preparation, feeding of some animals, animal observations, and preparing animal enrichments

Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must commit to one four-hour shift per week for at least 6 months
  • Shift times are 8:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 5:00pm; Monday-Sunday
  • Commit to volunteering at one special event OR after-hours rental per year
  • Attend a group interview
  • Participate in an 8-hour volunteer orientation
  • Successfully complete an introductory period of 24 hours
  • Pay a $40.00 program fee
    • Note: financial assistance is available, please contact the Volunteer Services Office for more details
  • Great customer service and ability to work well with visitors
  • Good physical condition and able to lift 50 lbs.
  • Willing to get dirty!
  • Must submit a negative TB test at own expense
  • Must be willing to submit to a Federal background check if deemed necessary by Zoo Boise staff

Zoo Commissary Volunteers

Every day, the Zoo Boise Commissary staff provides specialized diets for 250 different animals. Come learn about animal diets, how to prepare them, and what it takes to feed everyone at the zoo as a Commissary Volunteer!

Commissary volunteers assist with the preparation of all animal diets at the zoo under the supervision of our Commissary staff. The Commissary department is part of the animal care team and does not work directly with the animals.

General responsibilities include: Assisting the Commissary staff with daily tasks including daily food preparation, Commissary cleaning and inventory management; assist staff in keeping food preparation areas compliant with USDA and AZA zoological standards; assist with animal observations as needed

Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must commit to one four-hour shift per week for at least 6 months
  • Shift times are 8:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 5:00pm; Monday-Sunday
  • Commit to volunteering at one special event OR after-hours rental per year
  • Attend a group interview
  • Participate in an 8-hour volunteer orientation
  • Successfully complete an introductory period of 24 hours
  • Pay a $40.00 program fee
    • Note: financial assistance is available, please contact the Volunteer Services Office for more details
  • Great customer service and ability to work well with visitors
  • Good physical condition and able to lift 50 lbs.
  • Willing to get dirty!
  • Must submit a negative TB test at own expense
  • Must be willing to submit to a Federal background check if deemed necessary by Zoo Boise staff

Vet Tech Assistant Volunteer

At Zoo Boise, our animals are cared for by a team of experienced professionals, including a Certified Vet Technician (CVT). Vet Tech Assistant volunteers assist the CVT in providing a comfortable home for hospitalized animals, assist with preparing for animal exams (no exams will be scheduled during volunteer days on Friday and Saturday), hospital cleaning and laundry, instrument cleaning and sterilization, preparing lab samples, and general hospital maintenance.

General responsibilities include: Hospital ward care and maintenance (including removing feces and bedding); diet preparation/feeding and preparing enrichment for some animals; animal observations; hospital cleaning/maintenance and laundry; cleaning, packing, and sterilizing instruments; preparing lab samples

Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years’ old
  • Must have two years’ experience working or volunteering in a veterinary hospital or at a zoo or wildlife facility
  • Must complete a supplementary application packet (sent after application is completed)
  • Must commit to one 4-hour shift per week for 6 months
  • Shift times are 8:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 5:00pm; Friday and Saturday
  • Commit to volunteering at one special event OR rental per year
  • Attend two interviews with hospital staff
  • Complete a 2-hour online training after being offered and accepting position
  • Abide by all policies in the Volunteer Handbook
  • Great customer service and ability to work well with visitors and hospital staff
  • Good physical condition and able to lift 50 lbs.
  • Willing to get dirty!
  • Must submit a negative TB test at own expense
  • Must complete a Federal background check

Conservation Cruise Captains

Come host one of the zoo’s most popular summer attractions – the Conservation Cruise! Cruise Captains will have the opportunity to educate Zoo Boise visitors while steering the cruise boat around the lagoon by the African Plains exhibit. Captains teach visitors about the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund, recently funded projects, and how they can contribute to wildlife conservation. They also educate visitors about the animal exhibits seen from the lagoon.

General responsibilities include: safely driving the Conservation Cruise boat from dock to dock; educating visitors about animal exhibits on the lagoon, conservation needs, Zoo Boise’s conservation efforts, and recently funded projects; generating excitement among visitors regarding their positive impact for conservation; collecting Conservation Cruise fee ($1 per person).

Requirements:

  • Must be over 18 years of age with a valid driver’s license
  • Must commit to one 4-hour shift per week May 1st-October 15th
    • Shift times are 9:30am-1:30pm and 12:45pm – 4:45pm; Monday-Sunday
    • Weekend volunteers have the option to volunteer every-other weekend
  • Pay a $40.00 program fee
    • Note: financial assistance is available, please contact the Volunteer Services Office for more details
  • Participate in an 8-hour volunteer orientation
  • Commit to volunteering at one special event OR rental per year
  • Attend a volunteer interview
  • Successfully complete an introductory period of 24 hours
  • Abide by all policies in the Volunteer Handbook
  • Pass a Federal Background check
  • Ability to work well with visitors and exhibit good customer service
  • Interested in educating public about wildlife conservation
  • Must submit a negative TB test at own expense annually

Zoo Ambassador

Zoo Ambassadors welcome and assist visitors by greeting them at the front entrance, presenting education discovery stations, and educating visitors at the Zoo Farm. They provide information to visitors concerning Zoo Boise, the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund, directions, guidelines, programs and events.

General Responsibilities include:

Hosting and educating visitors at the Zoo Farm – a significant source of Zoo Boise Conservation Fund revenue, assisting with animal feeding and upkeep of Zoo Farm visitor area; engaging zoo visitors with the use of animal artifacts; providing information to visitors concerning the zoo, Zoo Boise Conservation Fund, directions, guidelines, programs and events; providing accurate information to visitors regarding zoo programs and events

Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must commit to a minimum of 36 hours of service May-September
  • Shift Times: 9:30am-11:30am, 12:45pm-2:45pm
  • Must complete an 8-hour volunteer orientation
  • Successfully complete an introductory period of 15 hours
  • Pay a $20 volunteer fee
    • Note: financial assistance is available, please contact the Volunteer Services Office for more details
  • Attend a volunteer interview
  • Abide by all policies in the Volunteer Handbook
  • Enjoy working with people of all ages
  • Desire to further develop customer service, public speaking, and teaching skills (training provided)
  • Interested in education the public about wildlife conservation
  • Must submit a negative TB test at own expense
  • Must be willing to submit to a Federal background check if deemed necessary by Zoo Boise staff

Benefits:

  • Unlimited admission to Zoo Boise for length of volunteer service
  • Discounts on education programs and gift shop or food café purchases
  • Zoo Boise Day Passes – Receive one-day pass for every 15 volunteer hours completed
  • Pride in enhancing Zoo Boise, a community asset and wildlife conservation leader

Zoo Ambassador - Family Volunteer

Families who would like to volunteer together may now do so as Zoo Ambassadors! They will welcome and assist visitors by greeting them at the front entrance, presenting education discovery stations, and educating visitors at our Zoo Farm. They provide information to visitors concerning the Zoo, the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund, directions, guidelines, programs and events.

Requirements:

  • Up to two children (ages 10+) may volunteer side-by-side with their parent(s) or legal guardian(s)
    • Must commit to a minimum of 24 hours of service May-September
    • Shift Times: 9:30am-11:30am, 12:45pm-2:45pm
  • Complete a 4-hour orientation
    • Parents and child(ren) must attend
  • Successfully complete an introductory period of 15 hours
  • Pay a $20 volunteer fee per family member
    • Note: financial assistance is available, please contact the Volunteer Services Office for more details
  • Attend a volunteer interview – families attend together
  • Abide by all policies in the Volunteer Handbook
  • Enjoy working with people of all ages
  • Desire to further develop customer service, public speaking, and teaching skills as a family (training provided)
  • Interested in education the public about wildlife conservation
  • Must submit a negative TB test for each participating family member at own expense
    • Must be willing to submit to a Federal background check if deemed necessary by Zoo Boise staff

Benefits:

  • Unlimited admission to Zoo Boise for length of volunteer service
  • Discounts on education programs and gift shop or food café purchases
  • Zoo Boise Day Passes – Each family member will receive one day pass for every 15 volunteer hours completed
  • Pride in enhancing Zoo Boise, a community asset and wildlife conservation leader

Special Events

Zoo Boise hosts a variety of special events throughout the year including Easter EGGstravaganza, Zoo Daze, Spooktacular and Boo at the Zoo. We rely on our community volunteers to make these events a success!

For more information on how to become a special events volunteer, contact the Volunteer Coordinator today. Materials fees are not required for volunteering at special events. Volunteers must be at least 13 years old. Please contact at least two weeks in advance.

Community Service Group Projects

Are you part of an organization, such as a work, youth, or school group that is interested in a Community Service Project? Zoo Boise frequently has exhibit enhancement and landscaping projects available.

We currently can accommodate groups during the following times (excluding special events):

  • Tuesdays: 9:00am-12:00pm OR 1:00pm-4:00pm
  • Saturdays: 9:00am-12:00pm OR 1:00pm-4:00pm

Group Volunteer Policies

Groups interested in volunteering at Zoo Boise must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Contact Zoo Boise at least 6 weeks prior to your volunteer project
  • Volunteers must be 10 years or older
  • We can accommodate up to 10 people per group
  • For volunteers under the age of 18, the group must provide one adult chaperone to every 5 youth. Chaperones are responsible for youth at all times
  • Group volunteers must identify a group coordinator that is responsible for the safety and well-being of group members, including providing the coordination and supervision for the group while volunteering. The group coordinator should be present with the group through the entirety of the volunteer project.
  • It is the responsibility of the group coordinator to complete and submit the Group Volunteer Waiver (provided by Zoo Boise) by the start of the project
  • The group understands that they will not receive any monetary compensation for their volunteer services

To begin the process for group participation, please fill out this application.

COMMUNITY SERVICE GROUP PROJECT APPLICATION

ZooTeen Program

Are you a teen looking for an opportunity to spend the summer at the zoo? Please visit our ZooTeen program page to learn more!

Community Conservation Volunteer Opportunities

Zoo Boise is proud to support other organizations throughout the Treasure Valley that are committed to conservation efforts. Please visit the following sites to see how you can help conservation in your own backyard!

Deerflat National Wildlife Refuge

Boise Environmental Education

City of Boise Citizen Science

Zoo Naturalists, Zoo Ambassadors, Animal Care and Conservation Cruise Captain Volunteers also receive the following benefits:

APPLY TO BE A VOLUNTEER TODAY