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Volunteer at Denver Zoo

Put Your Passion to Work

Denver Zoo volunteers are a dedicated group of individuals, from all walks of life, united by their advocacy for the zoo and their passion for animals and conservation.

Volunteers play a vital role in supporting Denver Zoo’s mission by successfully engaging guests, inspiring their connections with animals and motivating them to take conservation actions. In return, volunteers receive a sense of satisfaction and pride in the defining moments they help create for others.

Are you a teen interested in volunteering at Denver Zoo? Learn More >


Current Volunteer Login


Denver Zoo's Mission:

Secure a better world for animals through human understanding.

Denver Zoo's Vision:

Continuously innovate to inspire life-changing human and animal connections.

Our Commitment:

We will work with anyone who is truly interested and committed to volunteering at Denver Zoo for a minimum of one year, to find a place or position that meets both the needs of the zoo and the needs of volunteers as we endeavor to provide a quality experience for our zoo guests.



We will work with anyone who is truly interested and committed to volunteering at Denver Zoo for a minimum of one year, to find a place or position that meets both the needs of the zoo and the needs of volunteers as we endeavor to provide a quality experience for our zoo guests.

Is the Denver Zoo adult volunteer program the right choice for you?

Are you...?

  • Passionate about educating people of all ages and backgrounds about animals, nature and conservation.
  • Friendly, outgoing and dependable.
  • Committed to providing our guests the highest standards of guest service.
  • A current Denver Zoo member or able to purchase a zoo membership plan.*
  • Able to attend two days of training.
  • Available to attend three general meetings annually.
  • Able to pay a fee of $25 application fee* and purchase one Denver Zoo logo volunteer shirt* ($17-$25).
  • Willing to give a minimum of 50 hours of service a year.
  • At least 18 years of age.

*Scholarship support is available on request.

Download the Key Volunteer Requirements (96k PDF) for more specific details about financial commitment, uniform descriptions, and training details.


A variety of interesting and fulfilling volunteer opportunities await you as a year-round volunteer. Whatever the job, everyone is valued and performs a service that assists Denver Zoo in achieving its mission to secure a better world for animals through human understanding. 

Work as an Ambassador volunteer, Horticulture volunteer or with additional training as a Guide or Docent.

While a love of animals draws many volunteers to Denver Zoo, volunteers are not directly involved with the handling and care of the Zoo's animals. Volunteers are one of the most visible members of Denver Zoo community and their main goal is to provide the Zoo guests with a quality, educational and enriching experience while they are here.


Ambassador Volunteers  

Ambassador volunteers are trained to provide excellent guest service.  Ambassador activities are extremely varied and are focused on providing zoo guests with the best visitor experience possible.

  • Main Gate Ambassador

Welcome guests and members at Denver Zoo’s main entrance.

Activities include: greeting visitors, answering questions and providing information and directions for zoo guests.

  • Administrative Help

Assist with administrative projects in a variety of departments.

Activities include: daily office work, answering telephones, preparing invitations and large mailings.

  • Special Events

Help staff with activities at special events including Zoo Lights, Boo At The Zoo, Do At The Zoo and private parties.

Activities include: greeting guests, answering questions and helping with event activities.

  • Family Programs

Assist during our summer day camp, Summer Safari, and our overnight experience, Bunk with the Beasts.

Activities include: Setting up crafts, snacks and special activities for campers.

  • Horticulture

Learn gardening skills from our horitculturists by assisting with the the improvements and maintenance of our landscapes and exhibits.

Activities include: Pruning, planting, weeding, mulching and exhibit maintenance.

  • Lorikeets

Work alongside animal staff in Denver Zoo’s open-air aviary Lorikeet Adventure.

Activities include: Assisting visitors as they interact and feed lorikeets.

  • Zoo Patrol

Work alongside guest services staff during the month of may as hundreds of busses bring thousands of students to Denver Zoo.

Activities include: Meet and greet students and teachers as they arrive and assisting the students in safely walking from the bus to the zoo entrance.



Learn gardening skills from our horitculturists by assisting with the the improvements and maintenance of our landscapes and exhibits.

Work one day a week or twice a month, Monday - Friday between April and October.

Activites include:  Pruning, planting, weeding, mulching and exhibit maintenance.


Guide Volunteers

Guide volunteers are trained in the basic techniques and theories of interpretation. Guide volunteers provide educational opportunities to individuals through a variety of activities within and outside of the zoo.  

  • Guide Stations

Provide Zoo guests with animal and conservation knowledge using prepared interpretive kits on Denver Zoo grounds.

  • Outreach

Deliver Denver Zoo-related presentations to off-site audiences.



Docent Volunteers

Docents are trained in advanced interpretation with a focus on animals, conservation and the environment.  (All Guides are eligible to become Docents in the Fall of 2014.)

  • Ask-Me

Provide animal information at specific exhibits, answer visitor questions, show animal biofacts and enhance guests' zoo experience.

  • Tours

Lead tours for school groups, zoo members and special programs such as Bunk with the Beasts. Most tours have a specific focus such as African Animals, Endangered Species or Rainforest Discovery.

  • Summer Safari

Assist staff teaching classes for the zoo's summer camp programs. Classes include tours, games, crafts, live animal demonstrations and special enrichment activities.

  • Outreach

Travel to schools, community centers and senior facilities presenting zoo programs including slide shows and live animals.

  • Young Scientists

Supervise students who are learning about the scientific method and exhibit design. Give tours and oversee animal observation and data collection.

  • Bunk with the Beasts

Assist staff in our overnight experience for kids with tours, games, live animal demonstrations and special activities.



Step 1

Submit an application online.  Applications can be submitted beginning May 1, 2015 for the August 15-16 Zoo U Training Class. 

You will receive an email confirmation acknowledging receipt of your application.  All applications for our Summer 2015 recruitment must be submitted by July 5, 2015. 

Step 2

Complete a follow-up survey to assist us with selection of candidates whom we feel best meet Denver Zoo’s needs through their volunteering. The link to this survey will be included in your receipt of application confirmation. 

Step 3

Complete a Background Check form. 

All Denver Zoo volunteers are required to submit and pass a criminal background check. 

Step 4

Adult Volunteer Training Requirements

Once accepted, all adult volunteers must attend a two-day training and orientation session called Zoo U. At this training you receive an introduction to Denver Zoo, its mission, education staff and volunteers and the activities you will be able to participate in as a Denver Zoo Ambassador and/or horticulture volunteer. Additional training is required for some opportunities. Details about the training system will be reviewed at Zoo U. Ambassador volunteers commit to a minimum of 50 hours of service and attend three general meetings annually.

Summer Zoo U Training Dates

Saturday, August 15, 2015: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm AND Sunday, August 16, 2015: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. New volunteers must attend both days of the training.  A $25 non-refundable training fee will be due prior to training.  Scholarship support is available upon request.  If you are unable to attend these dates, applications are held for one year, allowing you to attend Zoo U during our Winter recruitment.

Horticulture Volunteer Training

Adult volunteers interested in working a regular weekday schedule with our Horticulture staff between April and October must complete an additional two hour horticulture training upon completion of Zoo U training.

Guide Training

With additional training, Ambassador volunteers may choose to become Guide volunteers. A three-day training provides you with basic techniques and theories of interpretation, preparing you to work with zoo guests at Guide stations using prepared interpretive materials. Guide volunteers commit to a minimum of 50 hours of service and attend three general meetings annually.

Guide Training Dates

Fridays, August 21, 28 and September 18 OR  Saturdays, August 22, 29 and September 19

Either a Friday or Saturday Guide training session (but not both) will be held depending on which day has the most volunteer availability.

Docent Training

With additional training Guide volunteers may become Docent volunteers. Docents are volunteer teachers who provide a variety of advanced interpretive and educational opportunities for our zoo guests. Docent Training is held every other year. Our next Docent Training will begin in September, 2016. 

Step 5

Start Volunteering!

In addition to the personal fulfillment and enjoyment that comes with making a
difference in the lives of animals and giving back to the community,
Denver Zoo volunteers receive numerous other benefits. 

  • Enthusiastic team of volunteers and staff
  • Flexible schedule
  • Variety of volunteer activities
  • A weekly e-newsletter with updates and timely volunteer details
  • A monthly Volunteer Newsletter (access to newsletter is password protected)
  • Regular recognition for your services
  • Opportunities to participate in continuing education programs and social events at the Zoo
  • Opportunities to gain valuable customer service and public relations skills
  • Discounts on food and gift shop purchases

Denver Zoo volunteers are a diverse group in terms of background, experience and age.
Their shared passion for nature and belief in the zoo’s mission provide numerous
opportunities to form new and lasting friendships. 



Contact Us?

For more information, call: 720-337-1486 or email Angie at

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