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.

Current volunteers, click here to login to the Volunteer Information Center.

Volunteer Opportunities

EPZ Camera Club, 18+
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.

Diet Prep, 18+
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. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in Animal Care, rehabilitation, and Veterinary Science. Please note that volunteer shifts begin at 8am.

Education, 18+
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! Applications accepted November 1 - May 1.

Horticulture, 18+
Volunteer gardeners make an immediate and valuable impact through the beautification of the Elmwood Park Zoo. Individuals and groups assist horticulture staff with routine garden maintenance including, but not limited to: weeding, deadheading, planting, watering, mulching, potting, leaf removal, and raking. Other duties may include plant identification and signage, composting, craft projects, and staffing a visitor information kiosk. There may also be opportunities to work on special projects, contribute to new exhibit planting plans, and participate in zoo events.

Junior Education, 14-17
Assignments are similar to those outlined for the adult position. The Junior Education Volunteer program is a leadership and career development opportunity for young people, ages 14 to 17, who are interested in pursuing careers in animal husbandry, veterinary science, zoological management, education, or other related field.

Junior Camp Counselor, 15-17
Junior Camp Counselors are teens that assist the adult Camp Counselors with daily camp responsibilities including crafts, games, snack time, monitoring recess, educational programs, and setup/cleanup.

Maintenance, 18+
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. Schedule is flexible.

Marketing, 18+
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.

Office Support, 18+
Individuals 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.

Special Events, 14+
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!

Tour Guides, 14+
Tour Guide Volunteers are specially-trained and knowledgeable individuals who enjoy sharing their passion for animals and conservation with guests. EPZ Guides conduct tours for groups of all ages. Each tour covers topics such as Elmwood Park Zoo history, animal facts, and relevant conservation issues. Volunteers typically oversee two types of tours: Critter Crossing and Bites & Sights. Critter Crossing is a more general overview of the EPZ and its animals; Bights & Sights is a more in depth experience for guests interested in animal behavior and nutrition. Tours can be tailored to specific interests upon request. Guides use biofacts (touchable artifacts such as feathers, pelts, shells, sheds, and skulls) to provide visitors with a fun and multi-sensory experience!.

Note: not all opportunities are available year-round. Please click here to learn more about our current openings.

Please direct all inquiries to the Volunteer Coordinator at 610.277.3825 x 231 or

Volunteer Benefits

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 food purchases throughout the Zoo
  • 50% off an individual Zoo membership or equal dollar amount off higher level membership for volunteers who achieve 30 or more hours per calendar year.
  • Free individual Zoo membership or equal dollar amount off higher level membership for volunteers who achieve 75 or more hours per service year.

Corporate/Group Volunteers

Many colleges, businesses, and private organizations choose to volunteer their time at the EPZ every year! The zoo can accommodate groups of 20 or less adults per day. Volunteers work closely with our Maintenance Department to assist with outdoor projects, light horticultural tasks, and event setup/breakdown. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator directly for more information.


The Elmwood Park Zoo strives to offer individuals (18+) the opportunity to gain meaningful hands-on experience in a professional non-profit setting. The zoo currently offers internships in the following departments: Animal Care*, Education*, Development, Marketing, and Guest Services. Animal Care and Education internships take place during the summer while positions in Development, Marketing, and Guest Services are available throughout the year depending on the needs of the zoo. Internships are unpaid and the EPZ does not provide housing. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator directly for more information.

*Animal Care and Education internships require applicants to be currently enrolled in a program with relevant coursework.

How to get started

    1. Apply! Complete the Volunteer Application Form.
    2. Interview! After completing the application, you will be contacted to schedule an interview with the Volunteer Coordinator.
    • 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: Not all opportunities are a good fit for all potential volunteers, so please read the program descriptions carefully before submitting an application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. There is no animal handling or direct animal contact involved with any of our volunteer opportunities. We currently do not have volunteer opportunities for individuals less than 14 years of age. 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. We are unable to arrange job shadows or volunteer opportunities with our veterinary staff. Additionally, our volunteer opportunities are primarily long-term. We invest a great deal of resources into our volunteer program and do not offer one-time or short-term opportunities apart from corporate volunteer days. Individual applicants must be willing to commit to at least one year of service at the Elmwood Park Zoo.

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