Close Encounters Program Internship

The Minnesota Zoo’s Close Encounters program provides unique, engaging, on-site animal experiences to Zoo guests by offering enrichment, training, and Ambassador Animal programs.  Interpretive naturalist staff and Ambassador Animals participate in encounters with guests around the Zoo, and participate in multi-species educational and conservation programs at the Zoo’s Lakeside Terrace and Discovery Bay Stadium.

The Close Encounters department is responsible for the daily management and care of 23 mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates, which represent nearly 20 different species.  The collection includes an African crested porcupine, and African grey parrot, an American kestrel, a North American beaver, an Eastern Screech Owl, a striped skunk, a tamandua, a three-banded armadillo, a two-toed sloth, a black-and-white tegu, and a pancake tortoise, along with other reptiles and invertebrates.

Interns learn how to clean animal enclosures, prepare animal diets, monitor animal feeding and other animal behaviors, and provide enrichment for the Ambassador Animals.  Interns learn to support the Close Encounters program and provide interpretive information about Ambassador Animals to Zoo guests.

Close Encounters Internship Working Conditions:

  • Schedule:
    • 7:00 to 4:30 daily
    • 36 hours/week, 12 weeks
    • Schedule may include one weekend day
  • Location:
    • Indoors in the main Zoo building
    • Summers include an outdoor presentations at the Zoo’s Lakeside Terrace
  • Activity Level:
    • Medium level of physical activity required, including walking indoors and outdoors; standing to prepare diets; crouching, bending, stretching, etc. to maintain sanitary and safe aquatic systems
  • Animal Husbandry-Collection Interpretation work task distribution:
    • Interns in this work area perform tasks distributed more-or-less equally between associated with animal care and public engagement