***As a safety precaution, we have temporarily suspended all volunteer programs until further notice.***
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Adult Volunteer Programs:
Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Kansas City Zoo!
The Zoo relies on over 300 active volunteers to support our staff and mission of connecting people to each other and the natural world to promote understanding, appreciation and conservation. Whether you are helping in education, special events, horticulture or with our keepers, volunteers make an impact every day. If you are looking for an incredibly rewarding long-term service opportunity, you have come to the right place!
Due to the physical and safety aspects of all Volunteer programs, the Zoo reserves the right to suggest other volunteer opportunities that are a better fit. We do not accept individuals seeking court-ordered service hours and at this time we cannot accept international applicants. We are unable to arrange volunteer opportunities with our veterinary staff.
NOTE: There is no animal handling or direct animal contact involved with any of our volunteer opportunities. Also, please note that our volunteer opportunities are primarily long-term.
Come to A Volunteer Open House!
To learn more about the Adult Volunteer Programs and currently available opportunities, join us for one of our Information Sessions. Information Sessions will be held on the following dates:
No open house dates currently available.
Here is a list of qualities we look for when selecting Volunteers:
- Reliable and able to commit to a minimum number of shifts per month or season. This will vary a bit, depending on the area(s) for which you are selected.
- A genuine interest in nature and commitment to conserving our natural world.
- Friendly, outgoing, dependable. A positive attitude is a must!
- Be comfortable working with people of diverse backgrounds and special needs. Volunteers are expected to interact with everyone in a fair and respectful manner.
- Awareness that volunteer activities take place in all weather conditions (heat, cold, rain, snow, etc.) and can require lifting, climbing, reaching, carrying, walking long distances and standing for extended periods in all environmental conditions, both indoors and outside.
- Able to perform volunteer duties in a team and/or individually with minimal supervision
- Enjoy meeting new people and providing excellent customer service to Zoo guests
- Be able to receive relevant information via email such as animal and plant updates.
Requirements for Adult Volunteer Programs:
- Must be 18 years or older
- Must complete Adult Volunteer application
- Must register for and attend one Volunteer Open House
- If accepted, attend one Volunteer Orientation Session.
- Meet all additional individual program requirements
- Agree to work one special event shift in October each year.
- Submit the required information and successfully pass a background check.
- Complete Zoo-wide and department-specific required training (details are noted below in the position descriptions).
- Once accepted, contribute a non-refundable $40 program fee. This fee covers training materials and uniform items.
Animal Volunteers work under the direct supervision of the Animal Care staff. They will perform routine work assignments involving maintenance and care of Zoo exhibits and enclosures. They may also participate in research and/or behavior studies.
General responsibilities include: exhibit maintenance (removing feces and bedding from exhibits and cleaning the glass), diet preparation, animal observations, preparing animal enrichment, and opportunities to train in another section after one year of service.
Please note: This is a highly competitive program with limited spots. All applicants will be reviewed and selected based on availability, experience and commitment. Any Animal Volunteers found not meeting requirements may be removed from the program at any time.
- Time Commitment: 192 monitored hours of service required per year (16 hours per month)
- Training: 10-week training course plus an online component and shadowing requirements
- Scheduling: Communicated and determined between Volunteer and Animal Team.
- Additional Requirements:
- An interview questionnaire, to be conducted at the open house
- Passing five online courses focused in zoo animal care and procedures
- Proof of a negative TB test required by Orientation
- Must successfully complete all necessary training prior to volunteering in an animal contact area
Our longest-running Volunteer program, Zoo Docents are dedicated Volunteers who serve as educators and interpreters at animal habitats throughout the Zoo. In addition, they provide tours and assist with a variety of educational programs both inside the Zoo and in the local community all year long.
Want to learn more? Come to our Docent Open House!
Becoming a Zoo Docent requires:
- Time Commitment: 60 hours of direct contact with our guests each year, for a minimum of two years. Being a Zoo Docent is a life-long commitment for many.
- Training: Two in-class Docent Orientation Days (November 7&8 2020) plus an online component and shadowing requirements.
- Scheduling: Very flexible! Docents set their schedule and assist with education programs year-round, seven days a week.
- Additional Requirements:
- $60 course fee includes materials and uniform shirt.
Team Habitat Volunteer Program
Team Habitat volunteers assist with projects for all the departments at the Zoo. 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.
- Time Commitment: At least 15 hours (5 work days) a year minimum to be considered for the next year’s program
- Training: General Zoo Orientation
- Schedule: Team Habitat Days take place on the 4th Saturday of the month, February-October from 9a.m. to Noon.
Zooscaper Volunteer Program
ZooScaper volunteers assist with projects for the Horticultural Department. Projects range from light physical duties such as planting, weeding, mulching, and watering, to more physically challenging projects such as moving deadfall and clearing brush.
- Time Commitment: 30 hours of volunteer work year round OR 5 work days in order to participate in the next year’s program.
- Training: General Zoo Orientation
- Schedule: Zooscaper Service Days take place on the 1st Saturday of the month, March-November from 9a.m. to Noon. You may additionally communicate with Horticulture Department for more individualized projects and recurring opportunities (i.e. watering every Tuesday)
Guest Ambassadors Volunteer Program
Guest Ambassadors assist guests by answering their questions, directing them to various attractions in the zoo, and make suggestions for more satisfying visits. Guest Ambassadors serve the public throughout the grounds providing basic information, directions and Zoo history. This group also helps with exhibit openings, special events and line control.
- Time Commitment: 30 hours of volunteer work year round in order to participate in the next year’s program
- Training: General Zoo Orientation plus 2-3 hours of individual training provided by experienced Volunteers.
- Scheduling: Our most flexible program! You set your schedule and shift times. Monday-Sunday, flexible hours.
Have questions? Contact Sara Cooper, Volunteer Programs Supervisor at email@example.com or 816-595-1768.