Go Wild…Volunteer At The Minnesota Zoo!

Volunteers make an impact at the Minnesota Zoo! Opportunities abound for teenagers through senior-agers looking for fun, unique and interesting volunteer positions.Volunteer-9

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
  • concern for the environment
  • conservation focused
  • make new friends
  • expand knowledge
  • the need to share time & talents
  • gain experience in the field
  • the list could go on and on

How about volunteer benefits?
Volunteers are offered many incentives in exchange for sharing their time, talents and energy. Some examples include:Volunteer-8

  • Free admission to the Zoo
  • Discounted admission to the IMAX Theater
  • Discounts at the gift shops and food concessions
  • Recognition Events
  • And many more

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 the 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.Volunteer-7

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

  • Volunteering at the 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
  • 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!

How do I go about applying to be a Minnesota Zoo Volunteer?
Thank you for your interest in the Minnesota Zoo Volunteer Program! You are on your way to learning about the amazing opportunities available to you as a volunteer at the Minnesota Zoo. The application process is easy!                   

Step 1  Review the information, interview and training opportunities below.  It is important that you are able to attend the all pertinent sessions.

Adult Interpretive  Current Openings Available
 Please call 952-431-9588 to schedule a shadow day at your earliest convenience.  During this day, you will spend your time following a trained volunteer around the Zoo to see exactly what volunteers do during a typical day. This is a great way to find out if our volunteer program is the right program for you. This day also includes a short interview in the afternoon where you will have a chance to ask questions and get more information about the program and training.  Shadow days must be completed a minimum of two weeks prior to the start of the fall training program. You can find the training dates on the next page.

Adult Interpretive Basic Training Program  Ages 18 & up
Shadow day scheduled at your convenience must be completed at least two weeks before the Orientation date below. 
Fall 2017 Classes   Weekend Training Class Dates
Monday September 18        6:00pm-8:30pm Orientation
Saturday September 30      9:00am-4:00pm Northern Trail/RGC
Saturday October 7              9:00am-4:00pm Minnesota Trail/Farm
Saturday October 14            9:00am-4:00pm Discovery Bay/Safety
Saturday October 21            9:00am-4:00pm Tropics Trail/Customer Service/Program Details
Saturday October 28           9:00am-4:00pm Make Up

Fall 2017 Classes  Weekday Training Class Dates
Monday September 18       6:00pm-8:30pm Orientation
Monday September 25       9:00am-4:00pm Northern Trail/RGC
Monday October 2               9:00am-4:00pm Minnesota Trail/Farm
Monday October 9               9:00am-4:00pm Discovery Bay/Safety
Monday October 16             9:00am-4:00pm Tropics Trail/Customer Service/Program Details
Monday October 23             9:00am-4:00pm Make Up

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.

Family Farm            Guest Experience- Carousel, Concerts, Events
No Openings Available at this Time.  Check Back in January of 2018
After we receive your application, you will be sent a link to sign up on-line for an information and/or interview session.   Group presentations will provide you with more information about volunteering at the Zoo and specific information about your program. Individual interviews will take place at this time as there is a selection process.  Not all applicants may be accepted into the program of their choice.   Pre-registration is required and sessions fill quickly.   Applicants under 18 years of age must have a parent present at the Information Session.

Step 2  Click on the appropriate application link below and complete all information.
And it is just that easy!  We hope to see your application in our email box soon.  If you have questions about the application process, please call 952-431-9588 


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
Summer Camp ZooTeen Volunteer Program 13-18 years of age
Wells Fargo Family Farm Volunteer Program 17 years of age and older
Guest Experience Conservation Carousel Volunteer Program 17 years of age and older
Guest Experience Event Volunteer Program 18 years of age and older