Volunteer Program Overview
We are thrilled that you are interested in becoming a volunteer with Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens! JZG volunteers have the opportunity to work alongside Zookeepers, assist with our exciting special events and support our botanical gardens horticulture staff; as a volunteer, you may spend time teaching others about our animals and the importance of conservation or assisting with the maintenance of the gardens and facilities that make JZG such an incredible place.
We could not provide such an exemplary experience for our guests or level of care for our exotic animals without the dedication of our wonderful volunteers! Volunteering is also a great way to meet others who share your interest in service, conservation and dedication to wildlife. We look forward to seeing you at one of our many volunteer appreciation events!
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has a variety of opportunities for individuals who are able to dedicate at least 4 hours a week for a minimum of 6 months. For those who are not able to make such a commitment, we encourage you to volunteer for one of our awesome special events, such as Spooktacular. Spooktacular is our fun and family-friendly Halloween party here at the Zoo and our volunteers have been a huge part of this event’s success! The Zoo’s Volunteer Services Department is the place to schedule all volunteer opportunities for JZG.
We welcome anyone over the age of 18 to apply to our Adult Volunteer Program. However, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens does not provide community service in relation to legal and probationary requirements. All volunteer will be subject to a background check.
If you are between the ages of 14 and 18 and have completed the 8th grade, you may be eligible for our amazing summer teen program, ZooTeens! Earn community service hours for school while spending time here at the Zoo. Information about teen volunteer opportunities and how to get involved are posted at the beginning of April on our volunteer website.
If you are interested in an internship with Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens we invite you to contact us at the Volunteer Services Department for information and further direction.
Types of Volunteer Opportunities
There are a variety of exciting volunteer opportunities at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens!
Below is a general list of volunteer opportunities at JZG:
Mammal Keeper Assistant- Assisting with care and maintenance in areas that serve giraffes, elephants and other incredible Zoo mammals.
Bird Keeper Assistant- Assisting with general cleanup and preparing bird diets in bird areas.
Education Keeper Assistant- Assisting with the education animal collection, cleanup and diet preparations.
Exhibit Guide Assistant- Be an ambassador for the Zoo! Interacting with Guests, discussing animals, conservation and relevant information.
BOT: Behavioral Observation Team- Assisting with the observation of animal behaviors and keeping accurate detailed descriptions of behaviors and interactions.
Diet Kitchen Assistant- Assisting with diet preparation for a variety of animals (includes rare meat).
Education Classroom Assistant- Assisting with camps, homeschool programs, adult workshops and other classes; assists with arts and crafts, classroom projects and student supervision.
Train Dock Assistant- Taking tickets, greeting guests, securing passengers at the Train Dock.
Gift Shop Assistant- Arranging and organizing merchandise, greeting guests, assisting with guest inquires at the various Zoo gift shops.
Horticulture Assistant- Assisting with general gardening duties throughout the Zoo.
Facilities Assistant- Mr. or Ms. Fix-it! Assisting the facilities department with a variety of projects and small tasks throughout the Zoo.
At Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens our goal is to create the most natural environment possible for our fantastic collection of animals. For this reason, all volunteer positions are considered, “hands-off” and do not involve direct handling of our animals. We encourage you to volunteer with us only if you are comfortable with this policy and we appreciate your understanding.
All positions are subject to availability; the Volunteer Services Department must select the position that fits the volunteer’s interests, but also the needs of the Zoo. The Volunteer Services Department reserves the right to reject a prospective volunteer for any reason.
How to Become an Adult Volunteer
Complete an online application
Once your interview appointment is confirmed, you will receive an email with instructions, including where and when to report for your interview.
When you arrive for your volunteer interview, you will be required to complete a brief background check authorization form. Please bring relevant information such as ID/driver’s license and social security number. Individuals who do not have a clear background check will be ineligible for the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ Adult Volunteer Program.
Volunteers interested in assisting in an animal area will need to submit documentation of a negative tuberculosis (TB) test before starting their volunteer service. The TB test is conducted at the volunteer’s expense and can be performed at their local doctor, clinic, or Duval County Health Department. The fee at the Duval County Health Department is $12.
Join us for a fun and informative volunteer orientation session. Orientations take place on Saturdays twice a month and are a great way to meet other volunteers and get all of the information you need to have a safe, fun and rewarding experience volunteering at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens! There will be a $15 orientation fee due at the volunteer orientation session. The orientation fee will cover one volunteer t-shirt, name badge, and processing.
For further information please contact the Volunteer Services Department.
Phone: 904-757-4463 EXT 176