Go Wild…Volunteer At The Minnesota Zoo!

Volunteers make a difference at the Minnesota Zoo! Opportunities abound for teenagers through senior-agers looking for fun, unique and interesting volunteer positions.

Why become a Minnesota Zoo Volunteer?
People just like you volunteer at the Minnesota Zoo for many different reasons. Common responses to this question include:

  • love of animals and/or plants
  • concerned about environmental issues and want to do my part to help animals, plants and the world in which we live
  • new to the area and looking to make new friends who have similar interests
  • expand my knowledge and looking to be challenged by learning new things
  • the need to share one’s time, talents and energy with others
  • the list could go on and on

Are there benefits for volunteering at the Minnesota Zoo?
Volunteers are offered many incentives in exchange for sharing their time, talents and energy. Examples include:

  • Free admission and parking to the Zoo,  and limited free IMAX Theatre for you
  • Free admission and parking to the Zoo  for immediate family
  • Discounted admission to the IMAX Theatre for immediate family
  • Discounts at the gift shops and food concessions at the Zoo and Theatre for you
  • Continued free training in the form of seminars, workshops and lectures for you

Commitment? What’s that all about?
Every year, Volunteers donate more than 110,000 hours of service to the Minnesota Zoo.   This commitment is HUGE and allows the Zoo to expand our programming to better serve our guests, the people of Minnesota and beyond. The commitment requirement is determined by the volunteer opportunity that you choose. Some opportunities require a summer-only commitment for four hours a week. Some opportunities require a one-year commitment of two to four days a month.

Do I need training to volunteer?
This simple answer is yes, and we provide the training that you will need in order to be successful in your volunteer role at the Minnesota Zoo. Every position has different requirements. For example, training at our Conservation Carousel starts with a zoo orientation and then on-the-job training.  Other positions, like our adult interpretive volunteer, require a longer training period. Training requirements are discussed again in the following pages and at the time of your interview.

What kinds of volunteer opportunities are available?
This question has many answers. Opportunities might include but are not limited to:

  • Volunteering at our brand new beautiful Conservation Carousel
  • Volunteering at the Wells Fargo Family Farm where you might work in the goat yard, assist guest seating in the cow milking parlor or interpret in the swine barn
  • Interpreting with artifacts along all exhibit trails at the Zoo
  • Staffing the Sealife Booth, Conservation Booth, Minnesota Lodge Booth and General Information Booth
  • Assisting with our Summer Camp Program that provides unique week-long experiences for 2,500 campers each summer.
  • Assisting guests as they shop in our gift shops, replenishing merchandise on shelves, and bagging purchases
  • Handling mailing and filing projects and data input for the Education Department or Zoo Foundation
  • Working at Special Events at the Zoo

How does my volunteer service to the Minnesota Zoo make a difference?
The mission of the Minnesota Zoo is to “Connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife.”  Our vision is to be a leader in saving wildlife through engagement, inspiration and action.  We are the #1 environmental education center in the state of Minnesota.  Not only are volunteers instrumental in sharing information with our guests about the 4,300+ animals we exhibit,  they also are trained to tell our conservation stories that focus on our collection of animals, species here in Minnesota that need our help and those around the globe that are in danger of extinction.   Do volunteers make a difference at the Minnesota Zoo?  They gave 113,857 hours of service during fiscal year 2014 sharing our conservation message.  We call that AMAZING!

Please note that all volunteers (yes teenagers too) who volunteer with children at the Minnesota Zoo must agree to a Child Protection Background Check.  Cost for this is covered by the Minnesota Zoo.

You may now click on the program(s) of your choice to discover more about the many volunteer opportunities at the Minnesota Zoo.

Adult Interpretive Volunteer Program 18 years of age and older
Seasonal Interpretive Volunteer Program 17 years of age and older
Summer Camp ZooTeen Volunteer Program 13-18 years of age
Wells Fargo Family Farm Volunteer Program 17 years of age and older
Conservation Carousel Volunteer Program 17 years of age and older
Event Volunteer Program 18 years of age and older
Department and Office Volunteer Program 18 years of age and older
Gift Shop Volunteer Program 18 years of age and older
Corporate and Community Group Volunteer Program