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Train/Carousel Crew

This role is now full for the 2024 season! Still interested in being part of the crew? Call or email us at 608-283-1612/ Spots do open up occasionally, and we would be happy to get you on the wait list.


Our Train/Carousel volunteers absolutely make the visit for many of our guests – young and young-at-heart alike. Work as part of a team with other volunteers and HVZ staff to get everyone safely all aboard! Responsibilities range from ticket taking to running the rides to bringing cheer to even the most tired toddler. This is an excellent role for those who enjoy children and families, who have patience and understanding, and who prefer working as part of a team.

“My best day at the Zoo was after a carousel ride when one of the little boys got off, gave me a hug and thanked me for the ride.”

Ellen, Train/Carousel Volunteer


  • Welcome guests to the rides
  • Take tokens
  • Help guests get on/off the rides safely
  • Operate the carousel
  • Drive the train
  • Actively engage with guests as they wait to ride
  • Thank guests for riding
  • Communicate with HVZ Staff (Train/Carousel Attendants) regarding ride maintenance/safety, guest needs, and volunteer needs as they arise
  • Assist staff and other volunteers during guest-related radio calls (ex. keeping a child calm and comfortable, talking with parents, etc.)
  • Occasionally use the radio to assist other staff and/or volunteers with guest-related issues

Volunteering For All

The HVZ Train & Carousel is located close to the parking lot along Vilas Park Dr. HVZ staff are available all throughout the shift to support volunteers when needed. A small office is located within the carousel and often serves as a quiet/dark break area for volunteers and attendants. The closest bathroom is in the center of the Zoo just outside the Children’s Zoo. All surfaces are even, and accessible by wheelchair. The HVZ Train & Carousel is a high-sensory area due to the lights, loud music/sounds and high guest numbers, and may not be suitable for those with sensitivities to light and sound.

Requirements & Skills
  • At least 18 years of age
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Able to lift at least 20lbs
  • Able to focus on one thing at a time
  • Able to easily switch between sitting and standing, and to quickly respond in the event of an emergency
  • Enjoys working with children and all the challenges they bring
  • Enjoys finding ways to help people smile

Time Commitment
  • 9hrs/mo: Train/Carousel Crew members commit to a weekly shift with a minimum of x3 shifts/mo from the time they begin through September.
  • The Train/Carousel Crew is most busy May through September. Shifts are available in April and October for those volunteers who want to catch the first field trips of the year, or for those who want to enjoy quieter times when we have more local littles enjoying the fall weather with their adults.


All of these trainings are available as refreshers at any point upon request. Optional trainings allow you to try out other roles as shifts become available. They do not add to your minimum requirements (i.e. training in on another role doesn’t require you to add another set of weekly shifts). Training spots are limited; however, we will schedule more throughout the summer as interest and time allows.

  • Online
    • Intro to Zoo Attractions (10-15min)
    • Radio Training (40-50min)
    • Volunteer Expectations (15-20min)
    • Introduction to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (20min)
    • Volunteer Software Basics (5-10min)
  • In-Person
    • Onsite orientation (1hr) – Meet other volunteers, and HVZ Staff, learn how to safely operate the train/carousel, short tour of other Children’s Zoo habitats
  • Optional
    • Henry the Lion/Handler – (Must be at least 14+) – Learn how to tell a story, don the lion/handler costume and get practice in costume on grounds
    • Goat Yard – (Must be at least 10-13 w/ parent/guardian, or 14+) – Learn to open & close, operate and educate at the goat yard
    • Empathy/Interpretation – (Must be at least 10-13 w/ parent/guardian, or 14+) – ZOOM – Learn basic docent skills & practice empathy language. This training in particular will NOT allow you to pick up Wildlife Champion shifts. However, it will provide you with valuable interpretation and empathy-building skills that are useful in a variety of roles.
    • Gate Greeter – (Must be at least 10-13 w/ parent/guardian, or 14+) – Take a small tour of the Zoo going over important buildings, entries and guest protocol.

Weather Policy
  • Being inside, our carousel will run in all types of weather. Our train runs on an electric motor, and cannot be operated in rain, through heavy snow/mud/ice, or in temperatures under 45 degrees Fahrenheit. In the event that we are unable to run our train/carousel due to weather or mechanical-related troubles, we will alert our volunteer crew that they can take an excused absence.