The North Carolina Zoo’s Volunteer Services Program is comprised of a diverse group intergenerational volunteers and unpaid interns who serve more than 40,000 hours of service each year. Volunteers donate their time, talents, and skills augmenting and enhancing the work of Zoo staff, enabling the North Carolina Zoo to expand its scope of programs and projects. While experience can be helpful, it isn’t a requirement. Our professional staff are committed to helping volunteers succeed by providing the tools, resources and training! We are looking for people with availability and a desire to inspire. 

Habitat Interpreter

Training offered January - May

Habitat Interpreter volunteers share animal information and engage with guests about conservation issues and the impact humans have on the environment. The goal is to inspire action and create change. Volunteers are trained to engage with guests at habitat clusters throughout the Zoo including Rocky Coast, Streamside, Cypress Swamp, Red Wolf, Desert, Aviary, Primate, Elephant and Africa Plaza. Volunteers use the Zoo’s living collection and biofacts such as feathers, skulls, pelts and eggs to enhance the conversation and create fun, educational and memorable experiences.

Time Commitment: March October, Wednesdays – Sundays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.  Volunteers should be available to serve a minimum of two scheduled shifts each month.

Age Requirement: Minimum age requirement is 16 years old. Youth between the ages of 12-15 years old can volunteer for this assignment with their parent or legal guardian. This adult must complete all required documents, training and be available to serve alongside the child at each scheduled shift.

Interested in becoming a Zoo volunteer? Complete our online volunteer application and you will be contacted regarding orientation and training.
 

Volunteer application

Smart Cart volunteer

Giraffe Deck Attendant

Training offered January – May  

Giraffe deck volunteers create unique, rewarding and memorable experiences for guests who come fact-to-face with, and feed giraffes. Volunteers share information to increase awareness about conservation issues and programs, prepare and distribute browse, queue guests on/off the deck and support staff as requested. 

Time Commitment: April – October, Daily, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Age Requirement: Minimum age requirement is 16 years old. Youth between the ages of 12-15 years old can volunteer for this assignment with their parent or legal guardian. This adult must complete all required documents, training and be available to serve alongside the child at each scheduled shift.

Interested in becoming a Zoo Volunteer? Complete our online volunteer application and you will be contacted regarding orientation and training.

Volunteeer Application

Giraffe deck volunteer helping guest

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Animal Care Volunteer

Training offered January – May. Limited positions available. Individuals are selected through an interview process following orientation.

Wildlife rehabilitation volunteers provide routine daily care for injured, sick, and orphaned native wildlife until they are ready for release back into the wild. Volunteer duties include admitting animal patients, record keeping, preparing diets, feeding animals, and a fair amount of cleaning including cages, dishes, floors and wards. Volunteers may also assist Veterinary staff with medical tasks such as administering medications, physical therapy, radiographs and surgeries. Volunteers can also participate in special projects, tours, training, cage building and animal rescues/releases.    

Time Commitments:  Year-round opportunity. March-September is peak season for animal care, although volunteers are needed throughout the year. Shift schedules are six hours each, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. 

  • Volunteers must establish and commit to one, six-hour shift each week for eight consecutive weeks on a recurring schedule of the same day/shift each week. (i.e. Every Tuesday, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.) Upon completion the first eight weeks, Volunteers can transition from a weekly schedule to serving every other week (still on a recurring schedule of a set day/shift). 
     
  • Time limited, Summer volunteers must establish and commit to one, six-hour shift each week for a minimum of eight consecutive weeks to be completed during the months of June-August. Volunteers should be available to serve on a recurring schedule of the same day/shift each week. (i.e. Every Tuesday, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.) Volunteers who successfully complete all requirements have selection priority the following summer to return.  

Interested in becoming a Zoo Volunteer? Complete our online volunteer application and you will be contacted regarding orientation and training.

Volunteer Application

Wildlife center volunteer

Zoo Host

Training offered January - May

Zoo host volunteers welcome guests upon arrival and the first matter of business is often directing them to the nearest restroom. Hosts provide guests with information about ticket sales, paid experiences, tram/shuttle services, and communicate available services such as first aid, mobility/stroller rentals, food services, picnic areas, gift sales, etc. Hosts inform guests about special events, animal feeding schedules, and opportunities to enhance their experience.    

Time Commitment:  March – November. Wednesdays – Sundays, and all Holidays.  9 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Volunteers should be available to serve a minimum of two scheduled shifts each month.

Age Requirement: Minimum age requirement is 16 years old.

Interested in becoming a Zoo Volunteer? Complete our online volunteer application and you will be contacted regarding orientation and training.

Volunteer Application

Zoo host greeting guests

Guest Services Receptionist

Training offered January – May 

Receptionist volunteers answer phones and provide information regarding Zoo hours, admission prices, special events, directions, available services, picnic facilities, etc. Receptionists also assist guests in person documenting/locating lost items, reporting injuries and requesting special assistance as needed. Receptionists often help resolve guest related concerns or locate the appropriate staff person for resolution.   .  

Time Commitment: March – November, Saturdays and Sundays. Shifts are 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and/or 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.  

Age Requirement: Minimum age requirement is 18 years old.

Interested in becoming a Zoo Volunteer? Complete our online volunteer application and you will be contacted regarding orientation and training.

Volunteer Application

Volunteer Zoo receptionist

Garden Volunteer

Training is offered January - May; Limited positions available 

Gardeners plant, weed, water, harvest, mulch, and maintain the Butterfly Waystations, Browse Gardens, and Pollinator Gardens throughout the Zoo. Volunteers also assist with trail maintenance and general landscape to maintain the grounds.

Time Commitment:  April – October, Monday – Friday. Volunteers should be available to serve a minimum of two scheduled shifts each month.

Age Requirement: Minimum age requirement is 18 years old.

Interested in becoming a Zoo Volunteer? Complete our online volunteer application and you will be contacted regarding orientation and training.
 

Volunteer Application

Garden volunteer

Kidzone Play Pal

Training is offered January - June  

Play Pal volunteers facilitate play at kidZone, a nature-based play area geared toward guests ages 3-10 years old. Play Pals facilitate play and engage children in activities such as fort building, making mud pies, playing in the stream, walking across logs, identifying backyard wildlife, crafts, programs and much more. Activities are intended to leave guests (and Play Pals) a little dirty, but with smiles on their faces and an appreciation for playing outside! Volunteers also lead activities, organize crafts, and engage in storytelling.

Time Commitments:  March – October, Wednesdays - Sundays. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Volunteers should be available to serve a minimum of two scheduled shifts each month. Time-limited/Summer only volunteers should be available to commit to one shift per week for a minimum of eight weeks (or four weekends) to be completed during the months of April-June or June-August.

Age Requirement:   Applicants must be between the ages of 12 and 16.  Youth may volunteer without a parent for this opportunity.

Interested in becoming a Play Pal? Complete our online application and you will be contacted regarding orientation and training.

Volunteer as a Play Pal

Play pal volunteer

Honey Bee Volunteer

Training is offered January - May

Honey Bee volunteers are members of the North Carolina State Beekeeper Association. They are recruited and trained to volunteer at the Zoo's Honey Bee Garden. Volunteers engage guests in opportunities to connect with nature using resources including live demonstration hive, pollinator garden, art sculptures and more. Volunteers create personalized, educational, fun and memorable experiences to increase awareness about honey bee conservation and their importance.  They also encourage guests to plant pollinator gardens to attract wildlife to their own backyards.

Time Commitments: March – October, Daily (The greatest need is Wednesday - Sundays), 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Volunteers should be available to serve a minimum of two scheduled shifts each month. Time-limited volunteers commit to one shift per week for a minimum of eight weeks or a minimum of four weekend shifts (Saturday & Sunday) to be completed during the months of April-June or September-October.

Age Requirement: Minimum age requirement is 16 years old. Youth between the ages of 12-15 years old can volunteer for this assignment with their parent or legal guardian. This adult must complete all required documents, training and be available to serve alongside the child at each scheduled shift.

Volunteer Application

Beekeeper volunteer

Group Projects

Some people say their workplace is a Zoo, but ours really is. The NC Zoo offers seasonal opportunities for businesses, organizations, churches, sororities, fraternities, and clubs to volunteer together on a project. Possible service projects include painting, mulching, weeding, cleaning signage, trail maintenance, washing trams, helping with a special event, and more. Group sizes are limited to 15 participants for most projects. Please contact Volunteer@NCZoo.org for more information. 

Group of project volunteers