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Adult Volunteers

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Adult Volunteers

Requirements for Adult Volunteer Programs

Kansas City Zoo Adult Volunteers must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age and a high school graduate
  • Be able to pass a background check
  • Be able to pay the materials fee for training materials and shirt and background check
  • Be willing to contribute a minimum of 30 hours of service per year (five hours per month minimum between May and August)
  • Have an appreciation of wildlife and commitment to conserving our natural world
  • Enjoy meeting new people and providing excellent customer service to our guests
  • Be willing to complete any on-site training as needed

Guest Guide volunteers (April-October)

Guest guide volunteers greet our visitors that come to the zoo. They also assist guests by answering their questions, directing them to various attractions in the zoo, and make suggestions for more satisfying visits. Guest Guides spend their time walking on zoo grounds or stationed at high traffic areas such as the tram station, African Market area or the front entrance of the zoo.

Guest Guides can also choose to assist our Guest Services or Membership Team in a variety of areas. Volunteer stations include admissions, membership, gift shops, and rides. Volunteers need to be able to stand the duration of their shift.

Guest Guide volunteers must have excellent customer service and problem solving skills. This program requires a minimum of 30 hours of service to our visitors in the zoo; these hours can be completed any time the Zoo is open to the public between April and October. Applicants must complete and pass a background check, attend volunteer orientation and up to 3 training sessions before participating in the volunteer program. Volunteer performance will be evaluated annually.

A materials fee for adults of $30 is required for the first year to participate in the Guest Guide program, and $15 fee for every new shirt after the first year of volunteer service.

Guest Guide volunteers that contribute 30 or more hours of direct service to our guests on grounds by October 31 will be eligible to apply for the docent program.

Apply to be a Guest Guide!

Team Habitat/Zooscapers (March-November)

A Team Habitat volunteer assists with projects for all the departments at the Zoo as part of a team. Projects range from light physical duty such as planting bulbs and painting doors, to more physically challenging projects such as moving deadfall, cleaning/reorganizing zoo areas after big special events, pruning and clearing brush. Team Habitat meets the 4th Saturday of the month, March-November from 9am-12:00 noon, and requires at least 15 hours (5 work days) a year minimum to be considered for the next year's program. One training session is required.

A ZooScaper volunteer is a more individualized program that assists with projects for the Horticultural Department. Projects range from light physical duty such as planting, weeding, mulching, and watering, to more physically challenging projects such as moving deadfall and clearing brush. The ZooScapers program requires 30 hours of volunteer work each year in order to participate in the next year's program. Various time commitments are available, generally Monday-Friday, and requires one training session, plus additional training, depending on the task. Opportunities are available March-October. Youth volunteers 14-15 years of age may participate in this program, but must be accompanied by a Team Habitat/Zooscaper volunteer adult/parent at all times. Youth ages 16 and older may volunteer without a parent, and will be considered an adult volunteer.

A materials fee of $30 for adults, $15 for youth is required for the first year in order to participate in the Team Habitat/ZooScaper Programs, and a $15 fee for every new shirt after the first year of volunteer service.

Apply for Team Habitat!

Docent Program

Those volunteers that have completed the service requirements as a Guest Guide and are 21 years old are eligible to apply for the Docent program. 30 hours of direct contact with the public must be completed by October 31st in order to be eligible to apply for the spring docent class. Volunteers must keep their own record of hours worked at the zoo. Please contact the volunteer coordinator after completing 30 hours of service for a docent application.

As a Zoo Docent, you will assist the Education Department with a variety of programs. Docent volunteers have a primary role in educating our guests on zoo grounds using educational messages that share concern and respect to the natural world. Docents can also give guided tours, assist with Scout programs and Zoo camps offered throughout the year, assist with classroom presentations, off ground programs, and a variety of onsite, hands on educational activities. The Docent Program is intense and requires 60 hours of direct contact with our guests each year. A 13 week (1 class per week) training course is required. Training classes are held once a year in the spring. Volunteer performance will be evaluated semi-annually.

To be eligible for the Kansas City Zoo Docent program, you must:

  • Have successfully completed the Guest Guide volunteer program
  • Be 21 years of age or higher and a high school graduate to participate; a college degree is preferred
  • Complete and submit the docent application (contact the Volunteer Coordinator)
  • Be able to pass a background check
  • Complete an interview with the volunteer coordinator
  • Pay the training fee of $100 that is required to participate in the Docent program

Due to the integrity of this program, the zoo reserves the right to suggest other volunteer opportunities that are a better fit.

*To join this program you must apply and successfully complete the Guest Guide program.*

How to Volunteer

Application: All potential volunteers must submit an application to be considered for the Kansas City Zoo volunteer programs. Please choose the program you are most interested in; each volunteer program has a different training and orientation. 

Orientation and trainings: If offered a volunteer position, the applicant must attend a new volunteer orientation. Information on zoo policies, safety and security procedures and overview of job assignment will be reviewed at the orientation. Most programs require a background check. Additional training is required for certain programs. Volunteer performance will be evaluated semi-annually.


 Contact volunteer@fotzkc.org for more information or to apply.