Volunteer Opportunities

Caring. Committed. Passionate. Powerful. The members of Denver Zoo's volunteer community are as dynamic and diverse as the city itself—and as much a part of our family as our wonderful staff and our 3,000 wild animals. Of all the volunteer opportunities in Denver, this is one of the most exciting and rewarding. Interested? Learn how to join forces with Colorado's oldest and most dedicated advocate for wild animals, below!

volunteer Requirements 

  • All volunteers start as General Volunteers and are able to participate in:
    • Animal Visibility Scans
    • Enrichment Building
    • Exhibit Maintenance
    • Shadowing horticulture volunteers (March-October)
    • Shadowing Guest Experience Volunteers
    • and more!
  • After completing the General Volunteer requirements, volunteers are invited to apply for open positions and attend traning for the specific volunteer teams listed below
  • Make a one-year minimum commitment, and are required to serve between 16 and 24 shifts per year depending on your position
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be able to attend one full day of
    on-campus orientation (Zoo U)
  • Be committed to providing our guests with the highest standard service
  • Be passionate about educating people of all ages and abilities about wildlife, conservation and the natural world
  • Be friendly, outgoing and dependable
  • Be able to pay a $35 application fee which includes your Zoo U orientation and your Denver Zoo uniform shirt. (scholarship support available upon request)

Volunteer at the Zoo

In addition to enjoying the most sought-after volunteer opportunity in Denver, Denver Zoo volunteers are absolutely essential to our mission of Inspiring Communities to Save Wildlife for Future Generations. As a non-profit organization, we rely on the generosity and expertise of this kind and committed community to help our guests connect with the wonder of wildlife, enhance each visit with vital education—and ignite a passion for conservation in all. Ready to make a difference for wild animals and wild places? Follow the simple steps below!

 

1. Review the Opportunity Guide

There are a lot of options for volunteers at Denver Zoo! Volunteers are involved in almost every aspect of our operations. By reading through the Opportunity Guide HERE you can start to learn about all of the opportunities available to you and what it takes to get there.

2. Ready to apply?

Applications are currently closed. 2024 applications will be open January 2nd-12th, March 1st-15th, and July 8th-19th. Use the button below to begin your application.

If you would like to learn more about the application process, stay tuned to this page for virtual info session opportunities before our March application deadlines.

3. Acceptance and Next Steps

All volunteers who are accepted into the Adult Volunteer Program will be notified of next steps via email. Each application cycle the number of applications we receive far outnumber the amount of open positions we have. If you are not offered a position, you are encouraged to apply again.

Prior to orientation all accepted volunteers will be required to pass a criminal background check and submit a $35 training fee. Scholarship support is available on request.

4. Zoo U (Orientation)

All adult volunteers must attend a one-day orientation called Zoo U. This program will give you an introduction to Denver Zoo, our mission, Adult Volunteer Program staff, and give you the foundational skills necessary to deliver the highest standard of guest experience.

For more information, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Brianna Cronin at (720) 337-1619 or bcronin@denverzoo.org

 

Guest Experience Volunteer

Calling all nature nerds, animal advocates—and anyone who has always dreamed of helping people connect with the wonder of wildlife. Volunteers guide guests in this connection to animals and the mission of Denver Zoo. These positions include information carts, camp assistants, and conservation spotlights! Guest Experience volunteers also have the opportunity to pursue Docent training for exhibit interpretation roles. This is our highest need and largest volunteer team. 

Animal Care Volunteer

For the right person, a so-called "dirty job" can be a dream job! If you're looking for a Denver volunteer opportunity that involves wild animals, you may have found your people. Keeper Assistant positions include helping with routine work such as cleaning, dish washing, and diet preparation. Our Animal Behavior Observers watch individual or groups of animals and record specified behavior to help our Animal Care staff. 

Horticulture Volunteer

Do you like plants at least as much—if not more—than people? Check out our Denver volunteer opportunities in horticulture, and join the dedicated folks who keep our campus beautiful. You will learn about zoo horticulture while assisting with weeding, watering, mulching, and planting. Horticulture opportunities run March through October. 

Animal Health Volunteer

Searching for a Denver volunteer opportunity that puts your meal-prep skills to good use? Each of our 500+ species has a unique nutrition plan—and we can always use an extra hand in our Nutrition Center. Our animals also get specialized care at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Animal Hospital. Detail oriented volunteers are always needed for cleaning, room preparation, and data entry!