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What Volunteers Do at the Zoo

Volunteers aid zoo efforts in a number of capacities and help support the zoo through their gifts of time and talent. Volunteers will help guests get the most out of their visit to the zoo, help educate zoo visitors about animals and the importance of protecting them in their native habitats and contribute to the success of on-grounds and event fundraising.

Guest Services volunteers help zoo guests get the most out of their visit. Volunteers offer friendly greetings, answer questions, provide directions, respond to guest concerns, and invite visitors to support the zoo through on-grounds purchases or donations. Guest Services volunteers may be stationed at information booths, run the train and carousel, or be our Henry the Lion zoo mascot. Most roles require volunteers to be at least 14 years old to volunteer solo or 10 years old if accompanied by an adult 18 years or older. Train and carousel volunteers must be 18 years old.

Conservation Education volunteers give their time in a variety of ways to educate our guests about our animals, their challenges, and how we can support them. We have several opportunities to educate guests, including discovery docents, enrichment making, program assistants, and animal handling docents. The zoo offers limited opportunities to work directly with the education animals (primarily reptiles, invertebrates, and small mammals). These animal handling docents must be at least 18 years old, able to volunteer weekly for at least one year, and willing to complete extended training. Our professional zoo keeping staff is responsible for all animal care, including animal enrichment and the cleaning of enclosures.

Events Crew Looking to get involved with the Henry Vilas Zoo but don’t have enough time for the monthly commitment? This is a great opportunity for individuals with full-time jobs or groups, as most events are held in the evening or on the weekend! Events Crew is a great way to get involved and assist at events that we offer throughout the year! Events include: Conservation Awareness Days, Run Wild!, Halloween at the Zoo, Zoo Lights, and many more. There are several ways to get involved as we offer a variety of jobs for each event. Requirements include: 18 years or older, a minimum of 3 events per year and completion of a short training about the different roles involved.

Group Volunteer Opportunities includes helping throughout the year with landscaping, painting, gardening, cleaning, and crafting projects.