Volunteering at the Zoo
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium offers volunteering for adults and youth.
Check out our Frequently Asked Questions below for more information on application dates, requirements, and deadlines!
PLEASE NOTE: We do not currently offer volunteer positions in animal health care. Animal care volunteers are recruited on an as-needed basis from our current pool of volunteers.
Frequently Asked Questions
When are applications open?
Volunteer applications are not open year-round. In general, applications are open:
January: Visitor Services Assistant, Wildlife Champions Assistant, Horticulture Assistant, Spot the Swallows, Beach Walk Naturalist, Camp Assistants (youth only)
August: Guest Engagement Interpreter, Visitor Services Assistant, Wildlife Champions Assistant, Horticulture Assistant, Zoolights Assistant
December: Zoo Guides (youth only)
Applications are closed – now what do I do?
You can sign up at the following link to receive an email update when applications are open again: Volunteer Waitlist Form. Please note that this form is not an application! You will still need to complete an application during the application window.
What opportunities are available?
We offer several ways for you to be involved! You can check out position descriptions and application dates within the Adult Volunteering and Community Science pages. Please note that some positions are seasonal and may not be available when you apply.
What are your requirements?
- Zoo Guides and Camp Assistants: 14 – 18 years of age and currently in grades 9 through 12.
- Spot the Swallows: 14 years of age or older (with parental supervision if under 18)
- Beach Walk Naturalist: 16 years of age or older (with parental supervision if under 18)
- All other positions: 18 years of age or older and able to pass a standard background check.
In general, volunteering requires a commitment of at least one year. You can learn more about requirements and hour commitments on the individual types of volunteering pages.
Will I get to touch or interact with the animals?
We utilize protected contact in caring for many of our larger animals, including our tigers, polar bears, elephant, and muskoxen. In protected contact, there is always a barrier between keepers and animals. This creates a safe environment for both our keepers and animals and allows our animals to participate in their own care. Volunteers do not work in protected contact areas.
We recruit animal encounter volunteers on an as-needed basis from our pool of active and dedicated volunteers.
Can I be involved in feeding and caring for the animals?
Volunteers working in animal areas are recruited on an as-needed basis from our pool of active and dedicated volunteers.
Volunteers do not assist with animal health care.
Do you offer job shadowing or other short term (single day or week-long) volunteer opportunities?
We do not currently offer single-day or group volunteering opportunities.
Looking for careers?
Looking for a job shadow or career information? Check out our Career Discovery Programs and Career Day information. Many of these opportunities may satisfy your school’s job shadow or service requirements.