Volunteer

Each year our devoted team of volunteers donate thousands of their hours to work with different departments in the zoo. They are dedicated to educating our guests and inspiring a respect for nature and wildlife. They endeavor to help the zoo further its mission to positively impact the future for wild species throughout the globe. The zoo offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals ages 14 years old and up. Volunteer positions are flexible and can be combined or altered to match your interests.

 Click here to login to the Volunteer Information Center. 

Jr. Volunteer Program

Volunteers ages 14-18 get amazing opportunities to grow and learn as an EPZ junior volunteer! EPZ junior volunteers help educate the public about our animals and the zoo’s conservation mission while meeting friends for life and learning valuable professional skills for the future!   

Adult VoLunteer Program

Whether you are a working professional wishing to share your talents in a meaningful way in your free time or you are a retired individual with a lifetime of experience to bring, Elmwood Park Zoo offers a wonderful opportunity to continue to learn and grow and develop new talents and community bonds.

Volunteer Opportunities

Some of EPZ’s exciting volunteer activities include, but are not limited to:

The EPZ Camera Club is the perfect for both experienced and novice photographers alike! Explore the zoo and take unique and captivating photos to be utilized in marketing, social media, and other outlets to promote the zoo and its special events.

Individuals will help prepare animal’s meals and must be able to measure ingredients, chop and cut food, and follow detailed instructions. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in Animal Care, rehabilitation and Veterinary Science. 

It is the number one priority of EPZ volunteers to provide an educational experience to our guest. You may assist with programs, interpret an exhibit, present bio-facts (touchable animal related artifacts) or lead educational activities in the zoo. We will provide you with education opportunities through workshops and materials to continue to grow as a zoo volunteer educator.  

Individuals and groups assist horticulture staff with routine garden maintenance, plant identification and sign-age, 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.

Hospitality volunteers assist with crafts, activities, greeting guests and other helpful tasks. This volunteer opportunity is great for outgoing and social individuals.

Junior Teen Camp Counselors assist the Camp Staff with daily camp responsibilities including crafts, games, snack time, monitoring recess, educational programs, and setup/cleanup. This opportunity is great for teens who wish to get experience working with kids. 

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 Education volunteers are required to complete a specialized 4-day training course with instruction provided by experienced EPZ staff. Training typically takes place over the span of 4 consecutive Sunday afternoons through the fall and winter months.

Tour Guide Volunteers are trained and knowledgeable individuals who enjoy sharing their passion for animals and conservation with guests. Each tour covers topics such as Elwood Park Zoo history, animal facts, artifacts (touchable artifacts)  and relevant conservation issues. A specialized 4-day training course provided by EPA staff is required.

Volunteers will assist and travel  with the Education Department as they conduct live animal shows and on-site programs, spring and summer camps,  “Zoo-On-Wheels” community outreach programs, and specialty programs for groups such as the Boys and Girls Scouts of America. Each program offers unique learning opportunities and often involves the use of live animals.

Volunteer benefits

  • 20% discount on Nature Shop purchases
  • 10% discount on food throughout the zoo
  • 50% discount on individual membership or equal dollar amount off higher level membership for volunteers who achieve 40 or more hours per quarter.
  • Invitation to the annual volunteer appreciation banquet
  • Continuing education workshops, training, and even keeper talks and information sessions to increase you knowledge and understanding of the zoo and conservation
  • Opportunities to cultivate new friendships with people who hold similar interests
  • PLEASE NOTE: Not all opportunities are a good fit for all potential volunteers, so please read the program descriptions carefully before submitting an application.
  • 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.

Have questions? Download our FAQ sheet, or contact our Manager of Volunteer Engagement at 800.652.4143 x 231 or tavelar@elmwoodparkzoo.org

Volunteer Application

Corporate/Group Volunteering

Elmwood Park Zoo provides single service days for groups who want to give back and spend their time in a fun and unique environment! Group Volunteers are accepted all year round on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (weather permitting). Groups often assist with grounds, horticulture, special events and maintenance departments. Groups must have a minimum number of 5 and a maximum of 25 members. All members must be over the age of 14 in order to volunteer.

Corporate/Group Volunteer Application