Support Elmwood Park Zoo with the gift of your time. Each year, dedicated volunteers donate thousands of hours to help in the Zoo’s Education, Guest Services, and Maintenance departments.
The Zoo offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals ages 14 years old and up. Volunteers are a substantial part of the Zoo team.
The Education Volunteer opportunity is perfect for anyone who enjoys learning about wildlife and wants to share that knowledge with others. These individuals are committed to educating guests about EPZ’s animals and related conservation issues. As an Education Volunteer, you may interpret the animal exhibits using biofacts (touchable artifacts such as feathers and turtle shells), assist with on and off-site animal programs, staff seasonal exhibits, give guided tours of the Zoo, help at special events, and much more! Click here for more information.
Diet Prep Volunteers
Diet Prep volunteers help prepare the meals for the Zoo's animals. Individuals must be able to measure ingredients, chop and cut food, and follow detailed instructions. Candidates must be comfortable working with some potentially off-putting smells and diet ingredients. Applications are accepted year round - due to an overwhelming response, all diet prep applications submitted at this time are being placed into a wait list. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in Animal Care, rehabilitation, and Veterinary Science. Ages 18 and up
Junior Camp Counselors
Junior Camp Counselors are teens that assist the Camp Coordinator with arts and crafts projects, games and educational programs. Junior Camp Counselors must volunteer for at least two full weeks of camp. Applicants are required to attend a training session and provide proof of a tetanus inoculation (within 10 years). Ages 14 to 17
Marketing volunteers assist the Marketing Department with the ZooParent program. This includes writing the "animal update” emails to ZooParents as well as helping put together packages for mailing. Assistance with the zoo newsletter, digital photography collection, and general office support may also be assigned depending on the volunteer’s background and needs of the department. Professional Marketing experience not required. Applications are accepted at any time. Scheduling as needed. Ages 18 and up
Volunteers assist in daily grounds keeping and building maintenance. Volunteers possessing special trade skills or experience may assist with more complex projects such as those involving carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, or painting. Maintenance volunteers may be required to exert themselves and are likely to work outdoors. Proof or a tetanus inoculation (within 10 years) is required. Ages 18 and up
Special Event Volunteers
These volunteers are a part of the action when the Zoo hosts any number of special events throughout the year. Special Event volunteers may be tasked with entertaining guests with crafts, games, and other activities. Having the ability to work independently is a plus and possessing a pleasant, guest-friendly attitude is a must! Ages 14 and up
Group Volunteers and Community Service Projects
Elmwood Park Zoo welcomes corporations, schools, scout troops and other groups to submit requests to perform volunteer service projects at the Zoo. Groups generally assigned to assist the Maintenance Department in maintaining the Zoo’s grounds, or in the set up for special events.
The ZooCrafters is a more informal way to volunteer your time and services to the Zoo! Use your skills in crocheting, knitting, jewelry making, etc. and donate handmade items to various Zoo events and fundraisers throughout the year. Active ZooCrafters are highly encouraged to meet once a month to discuss progress and potential group projects, but the majority of volunteer hours can be logged from the comfort of your own home. This program is also open to outside crafting groups, community services groups, and individuals who wish to donate their goods and services to the Zoo. Significant crafting experience required. Applications are accepted at any time. Scheduling is flexible and as needed. Ages 14 and up
EPZ Camera Club
The EPZ Camera Club is the perfect volunteer opportunity for both experienced and novice photographers alike! Explore the Zoo and take unique and captivating photos of the Zoo and its inhabitants. These photos will be utilized in marketing, social media, and other outlets to promote the Zoo and its special events. Formal experience not required. Ability to easily provide Marketing Department and other relevant departments the photos via email, USB, etc. Applications accepted at any time. Scheduling as needed. PLEASE NOTE: we are not accepting applicants for the EPZ Camera Club at this time.
Greeters are among the first to welcome visitors to the Elmwood Park Zoo. They are responsible for offering warm welcomes and farewells to all guests, answering questions about the zoo, and providing accurate information regarding directions, events, feeding times, exhibits, and locations of buildings. Volunteers may also: be stationed near admissions and use bifoacts (skulls, feathers, pelts, etc.) to keep visitors entertained while waiting in line; staff the information kiosk; hand out maps; direct/escort school groups to their appropriate program locations; and administer Guest Experience Surveys. Android tablets will be provided to assist the volunteers in answering visitors’ questions. Greeters are required to volunteer 30 hours per year. Ages 14 and up
Office Support Volunteer
Office Support Volunteers work closely with the zoo’s administrative departments: Finance, Development, Marketing, and Guest Services. They assist with various office projects including mailings, copying and scanning, data entry, filing, and other duties as assigned by zoo staff. Some support volunteers may be assigned special projects that use their unique skills. Due to the schedule of the administrative staff, all office support volunteer opportunities take place on weekdays during daytime business hours, so you MUST be available during this time to apply for this position. This is a great opportunity to hone your administrative skills, meet new friends, and network with EPZ staff and volunteers. Ages 18 and up
Being a volunteer is a unique and rewarding experience. Elmwood Park Zoo appreciates the time dedicated by our volunteers and offers the following exclusive benefits.
Opportunities to cultivate new friendships with people who hold similar interests
Satisfaction of contributing your time to the EPZ, a staple in the community and an important contributor to animal and environmental education
Chances to develop professional contacts
Continuing education workshops, training, meetings, and information sessions that are designed to improve your skills and knowledge
Invitation to the annual volunteer appreciation banquet
20% off gift shop purchases
10% off Petrucci’s Ice Cream and the Cougar Café
50% an individual zoo membership or the same dollar value off of another membership for volunteers who achieve 50 or more hours per calendar year.
How to get started
1.) Apply! Complete the volunteer application. Apply online or download the printable version. 2.) Interview! After completing the application, you will be contacted to schedule an interview with the Volunteer Coordinator.
Individuals 14 to 17 years old are required to provide two references at time of interview.
Approved applicants will be invited into the program. All volunteers must pass a background check administered by Elmwood Park Zoo.
3.) Train! All volunteers must attend an orientation led by the Volunteer Coordinator. 4.) Sign up! After the application process is complete, volunteers can start signing up for all of our fun and rewarding opportunities.
PLEASE NOTE: At present, we are not able to accept high school students who wish to fulfill school projects or service learning hours at the Elmwood Park Zoo.