Gain valuable knowledge, skills and work experience as an intern at the Minnesota Zoo!

The Minnesota Zoo offers unpaid internships in many of its divisions.  A MN Zoo internship provides workplace experience and the opportunity to learn about careers in zoology, education, communication, conservation, and public service.

All interns promote the mission of the MN Zoo: To connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife.  College students who are accepted as interns at the Zoo have a unique opportunity to gain practical workplace experience, complete a meaningful independent projected related to their internship placement, and fulfill an academic requirement within their program of study.

Please note: Because the MN Zoo is an agency of the State of Minnesota, all college interns at the Minnesota Zoo MUST be:

  1. Enrolled in an accredited educational institution AND
  2. Completing an internship for academic credit as part of their academic program OR
  3. Completing an internship as a means of fulfilling an academic requirement as part of their academic program

The schedule of internship availability follows that of the post-secondary academic calendar.  Within these parameters, application openings and closing dates, and internship start and end dates may vary.

2019 – 2020 Internship Periods
Fall Semester Internships, 2019: Between September 7, 2019 and December 12, 2019
Spring Semester internship, 2020: Between February 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020
Summer Internships, 2020: Between May 12, 2020 and August 27, 2020
Fall Internships, 2020: Between September 12, 2020 and December 10, 2020

Internships at the MN Zoo are 10, 12, or 13 weeks long. See position descriptions for information about the schedule in each work area.

Unpaid Internships, Fall 2019 Re-posting:

The Minnesota Zoo will accept applications for a few fall semester internship placements between June 12, 2019 and June 26, 2019.

Fall 2019 internships will be scheduled between September 10, 2019 and December 13, 2019.  Internship periods may be 10, 12, or 13 weeks long.

Successful applicants MUST attend a mandatory MN Zoo Orientation and On-boarding meeting during the week before they report for their first day in their assigned work area.

Zoological Graphic Design Internships(unpaid)

Interns in this area work with the marketing team to increase public awareness, generate an understanding of, and excitement for, the Minnesota Zoo and its programs.

Applicants must be students in an accredited post-secondary graphic design program and must be fully competent in using Adobe design software.

Zoo Keeper Internships: Animal Care (unpaid)

Zoo Keeper Interns learn in depth about the care of animals in the Zoo’s collections.  They prepare diets, maintain sanitary conditions for the animals in the Zoo’s collection, and develop enrichment.  Zoo keeper interns also may interpret some exhibits for the public.

Interpretive Naturalist Internships: Animal Programs (unpaid)

Interns in interpretive naturalist positions connect guests with the Zoo’s collections to promote its conservation message and help to care for the collections by preparing diets, maintaining sanitary conditions, conducting observational research, and preparing enrichment.

Zoological Exhibit Design Internship (unpaid)

The process of designing a new Zoo exhibit is complex and fascinating. Exhibit designers must consider both the needs and habits of animal residents, and the needs of their zoo keepers and the Zoo’s human visitors. Interns will learn the different stages of developing a new exhibit, including researching where the animal lives in the wild, selecting plants to include in the exhibit, and making decisions about materials and surfaces.

Unpaid Internships which may be available in the future

Zoological Intern- Graphic Design

Zoological Intern – Field Conservation, Turtles Internship

Zoological Intern-Summer Zoo Camp Interpretive Naturalist Internship

Zoological Intern-Zoo Keeper, Life Support Systems

Zoological Intern- Farmkeeper, Wells Fargo Family Farm

Zoological Intern, Zoo Keeper, Llama Trek

Zoological Intern-Zoo Keeper, Minnesota & Tropics Trail

Zoological Undergraduate Research Assistant Internship – Conservation and Field Biology (unpaid)

From the cooperative breeding programs and conservation action campaigns we lead, to restoration of local wildlife and green practices on site, conservation is at the heart of everything at the MN Zoo. The engine of Zoo’s conservation work is its Conservation and Field Biology Research team. These scientists work locally, regionally, and internationally to lead projects that address a wide range of threats to endangered species and their natural habitats.

The Conservation and Field Biology Research Assistant Intern works under the direction of the Field Conservation Supervisor and may receive additional direction from the MN Zoo’s Conservations Biologists and/or Conservation Specialists. The Intern may assist with research tasks including data collection, management, and analysis; maintaining equipment and spaces to assure proper research procedures are followed; and communicating project updates.

Zoological Undergraduate Research Assistant Internship – Social Sciences and Evaluation (unpaid)

Minnesota Zoological Gardens is seeking an intern to work with the Evaluation and Research Specialist to assist with various projects, including exhibit evaluation and other social science research. General duties will include data entry and analysis, intercept surveys and interviews, visitor observations, and other duties as available.

The successful candidate should have an interest in museum interpretation, evaluation, and research, with a demonstrated ability to interact with the general public in a pleasant and courteous manner. Proficiency with varied computer software and data management, as well as excellent written and oral communication skills is required. Due to the nature of our organization and visitors, a portion of the weekly hours are expected to occur during the weekend. The intern will work under the direction of the Evaluation and Research specialist.

Zoological Human Resources Internship (unpaid)

The Minnesota Zoo’s Human Resources team is responsible for supporting about 220 full-time, part-time, and intermittent staff. In the spring and summer, that number grows to between 270 and 300 with the addition of temporary staff.

The Minnesota Zoo employs people from a wide variety of backgrounds. In addition to typical “zoo jobs” such as veterinary technicians, interpretive naturalists, zookeepers, zoologists, and veterinarians, the business end of the Zoo requires people with many different skills, from accountants and marketing staff to carpenters and guest services staff.
Zoological Intern- Human Resources

Zoological Animal Health Internship: Vet Tech (unpaid)

The Animal Health Department at the Minnesota Zoo is responsible for the care and management of all animals in its collection.  As a vet tech intern, you will have hands-on experience with mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.

Applicants must be students in an accredited Veterinarian Technician program of study and must have completed required coursework in surgery and anesthesia prior to beginning this internship.

Veterinarian Technician (Vet Tech, CVT) Intern

Zoological Intern – Interpretive Naturalist, Outreach (Zoomobile)
Zoological Intern-Education, School Programs (K-12)

Paid Internship

None at this time

For additional information, please email the MN Zoo Internship and Youth Development Coordinator at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Who is eligible to be a Minnesota Zoo intern?
Q: Are internships available to individuals who have finished their degrees?
Q: Are internships available to individuals who already have completed an internship at the Minnesota Zoo?
Q: What kinds of internships are available at the Minnesota Zoo?
Q: Are veterinarian (DVM) externships available at the Minnesota Zoo?
Q: When are internships available?
Q: How many weeks long is an internship, and how many hours per week do interns work?
Q: What is the weekly and daily schedule for interns?
Q: What do interns do?
Q: Are interns at the Minnesota Zoo paid?
Q: Does the Minnesota Zoo offer housing or relocation support for interns?
Q: How do I apply for an internship at the Minnesota Zoo?
Q: Do I have to apply online through Recruiting Solutions?
Q: What will I need to complete my application through Recruiting Solutions?
Q: Will I need a transcript and references when I apply?
Q: When can I apply for an internship at the Minnesota Zoo?
Q: Does the Minnesota Zoo accept applications for internships at other times of the year?
Q: How can I tell whether an internship is open to applicants?
Q: Can I apply for more than one internship in the same semester?
Q: Do interns at the MN Zoo have to have a TB test done?
Q: Do interns at the MN Zoo have to have had a rabies vaccine?
Q: What if I need help with the application or have questions?
Q: What happens after I submit my application for an internship at the Minnesota Zoo?