Volunteers

The Pride of Zoo Miami

Volunteers are truly the pride of Zoo Miami and the Zoological Society of Florida (ZSF).  These special individuals provide valuable assistance in almost every area of our operations. Our volunteers are a dedicated and fun-loving group of people who find fulfillment in helping our organizations achieve their mission of wildlife conservation and education. These committed individuals donate over 30,000 hours a year in a variety of capacities.

Zoo Miami/ZSF volunteers are a dynamic team of devoted and talented individuals that includes seniors, students, homemakers and South Florida professionals - many have been with us for more than 20 years. What unites this diverse group of individuals is an appreciation for wildlife, a true regard for people and a desire to make a difference. Many of our volunteers have .

Click here to see our most loyal volunteers

Interested in becoming a member of our "pride?" Fill out our online request form to receive information on the next recruitment meeting date.

Questions?

Email or call our Volunteer Coordinator at 305-255-5551.

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Tab One
Adults

Adult Volunteer Programs

This is a year-round program in which individuals work in key areas of the Zoo side-by-side with staff members. Information sessions for prospective adult volunteers are held two times a year -- Spring and Fall. After completing an interview and passing a strict background check, newly accepted volunteers attend an orientation training program. Training for specific positions is accomplished by working alongside an experienced volunteer or staff member. You should note that becoming a Docent requires specialized classroom training.

Apply: To receive an invitation to our next information session, contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 305-255-5551.

 online request form 

Volunteer Requirements:

All volunteers must...

  • Be a minimum of 18 years of age and a high school graduate.
  • Complete an interview and agree to a criminal background check and drug test.
  • Be willing to commit a minimum of one year to the program and 60 hours of service per year (five hours per month). Successfully complete the required training.
  • Be members of the Zoological Society of Florida (ZSF).
  • Purchase a uniform shirt, khaki shorts, slacks or skirts, white socks, close-toed shoes - an official name badge completes the uniform.

Animal Handling Requirements:

For most volunteer positions, animal contact is minimal. For those positions which require the handling of animals, a negative TB test within the last year must be provided by the volunteer.

*The only animals handled by volunteers are small mammals, birds and reptiles found in the Children's Zoo.

Volunteer Benefits:

  • An opportunity to become a part of wildlife conservation and education in your community
  • The chance to meet people and share the excitement of Zoo Miami
  • Free ZSF membership after one year of volunteer service with the minimum 60-hour requirement. To maintain free membership, a volunteer must complete a minimum of 60 hours each year
  • Gift shop and food concession discounts
  • Recognition and incentive awards
  • Social events
  • An opportunity to make new friends and spend time in one of the top ten zoos in the United States
  • Free or discounted cart tours, determined by the number of volunteer hours from previous year

Volunteer Opportunities:

Administrative Volunteers

Volunteers provide technical support to various departments in the Zoo and ZSF offices.

American Bankers Family Aviary - Wings of Asia Volunteers

Volunteers interact with visitors in the Aviary plaza, as well as inside the Aviary's educational observation center. Docents point out birds and interpret behavior inside the Aviary's free-flight area.

Children's Zoo Volunteers

Volunteers interact with children and adults in the petting zoo and provide opportunities for close-up encounters in the small animal exhibit called Toadstool. Volunteers who are certified perform live animal presentations for Zoo patrons. (Levels I and II)

Docents

Docents are interpretive volunteers who educate the public about animals and the natural world and promote positive attitudes towards conservation. After a special training course, Docents may work in any of the following areas:

  • Animal Close-Ups: Docents provide impromptu educational presentations to visitors using biofacts or live animals in the Children's Zoo and throughout the Zoo. (Levels I, II, and III)
  • Station Interpreter: Docents chat with visitors and conduct informal educational programs at various stations and exhibits throughout the Zoo.
  • Walking Tours: Docents provide walking tours for the general public, special groups and school groups within the Zoo.
  • Cart Tours: Docents conduct specially scheduled cart tours through ZSF.

Specialists

Volunteer/Specialists serve as exhibit interpreters for visitors in Dr. Wilde's World, the Zoo's indoor gallery, which features seasonal and traveling exhibits. Specialists are also found in the Children's Zoo's Toadstool and in the petting yard. Additionally, they volunteer as walkway ambassadors and in the information booth.

Horticulture

Volunteers assist with the care of the plant collection on Zoo grounds and in the Zoo nursery. Tasks include watering, pruning, mulching, weeding and planting seedlings and  new plants.

Special Projects and Events

Volunteers participate in a variety of short-term projects or events that may include assisting with fundraising activities and special events, such as Feast with the Beasts, Zoo Boo and the Great Zoo Miami Egg Safari. They also conduct visitor surveys; staff booths at community relations events and fairs and work on membership drives and phone banks.

Animal Science

Animal Science Volunteers assist the Zoo Miami Keepers with daily animal husbandry, including exhibit maintenance, diet preparation, animal observations and recordkeeping. They are expected to maintain a journal and/or complete a project. Written proof of a negative TB test must be provided before working in any animal holding area.

This is not an internship position.

To apply, please send your current resume, field of interest, and desired dates to:

Zoo Miami
Animal Science
12400 SW 152 Street
Miami, FL 33177
Fax: 305-378-6381

Tab Four
Internships

Internships

Limited opportunities for college students and graduates are available for internships at Zoo Miami and the Zoological Society of Florida. Unless noted below, internships are unpaid.

Program Requirements:

  • Must be a college junior, senior or graduate student in the field of interest
  • Must maintain a C+ average or above (B for Animal Science)
  • Must be willing to commit to a six, eight, or twelve week term (hours per week are specific to the area of interest)
  • Must be able to work weekends and holidays
  • Must successfully complete application process, including submission of grade transcript and two letters of recommendation

Program Areas:

Development & Membership Services

Interns working in the ZSF Development department will assist in a variety of fundraising projects and programs. Duties may include prospect research, coordination and production of proposal packets, special events, grant writing and/or reporting. This is an ideal opportunity to gain knowlege and develop skills in fundraising techniques, marketing research, non-profit management and communication. Development interns must be able to work a minimum of 20 hours per week, including some evenings and possible weekends. Contact avillar@zsf.org

Marketing & Public Relations

Interns working in the ZSF Marketing and Public Relations department may assist with general marketing tasks or be assigned to special projects as needed. Duties may include event planning and implementation assistance, conducting visitor surveys, writing press releases or stories, assembling press kits, maintaining a press clippings book, and research. This is an ideal opportunity to gain practical experience for a career in the field. Marketing interns must be able to work a minimum of 10 hours per week, including some weekends. Contact aobregon@zsf.org.

Special Events

Interns working with the Special Events Manager will be working under the Development department to assist in a variety of fundraising projects and events. Duties may include vendor research, such as getting quotes, production of sponsorship proposal packets, assisting with décor, volunteers, and other organizational aspects of the event. This is an ideal opportunity to gain knowledge and develop skills in special event planning. Must be able to work 15 hours per week. Good organizational skills and attention to detail is a must. Advanced computer skills, including Microsoft Word, Excel, Windows, and other related computer programs necessary. Contact klang@zsf.org

Other

Internships may be available in other areas of Zoo operations, including education, human resources, volunteer management, etc.

To explore your options, email or call our Volunteer Coordinator at 305-255-5551. If you wish to apply for any of the positions available, please send your current resume, field of interest and desired internship dates to:

Zoological Society of Florida
Attn: Volunteer Resources - Internships
12400 SW 152 Street
Miami, FL 33177
Fax: 305-255-7126

Tab Five
Groups

Group Volunteer Program

Zoo Miami welcomes groups of volunteers to assist in one-time projects around the Zoo grounds. Activities will vary and may include planting, weeding, mulching, painting, and other Zoo beautification projects.  Groups may also volunteer at some of Zoo Miami's special events, such as Zoo Boo —and the Great Zoo Miami Egg Safari.

Scout troops, sororities, fraternities, youth groups and other community groups are accepted for volunteer workday projects and these will depend on the Zoo's needs.  Projects may be scheduled for any day of the week and must consist of a minimum of four hours work.  Volunteers are encouraged to stay and enjoy the Zoo when the work is done.

fill out our online request form

Group projects are scheduled at least 30 days in advance. To request a date and time for your group, or call our Volunteer Coordinator at 305-255-5551.

Tab Six
Corporate

Corporate Volunteer Program

Corporations play a special role by bringing groups of employee volunteers together, often for specific projects on either an ongoing, periodic, or one-time basis. These projects not only provide an invaluable service to the Zoo, but also afford a wonderful opportunity for employees to spend quality time together outside the workplace. If your company would like to become involved at Zoo Miami, we can tailor a program of activities that is just right for you and your employees. There are an unlimited number of possibilities, but the sample programs which follow offer some ideas to get you going.

Adopt-a-Project

You can work with Zoo professionals to determine a specific activity that your corporation can make your own for example, a children's educational program or activity, the promotion and beautification of a particular animal exhibit, or providing guides for traveling exhibits with a schedule that fits your needs as well as those of the Zoo.

Hold a Corporate Zoo Day

Bring the whole gang together for a one-time Zoo Beautification day complete with a front entrance banner proclaiming (Your Corporation Name) Day at the Zoo! Enjoy a fun day of teamwork and camaraderie in a tranquil setting.

Link Your Corporate Donations to Your Community Service

If you are interested in making a corporation donation to Zoo Miami, you may want to consider linking your funds to your employees volunteer service donating a specific amount for every hour volunteered.

Join the Pride!

You can encourage your employees - both current and retired - to join the "Pride" of Zoo Miami The "Pride" is a membership organization of Zoo volunteers who undergo training and commit to serve a specific number of hours each month in a variety of capacities, according to their interests and abilities. The "Pride" welcomes volunteers of all ages to join this dedicated group. We would be happy to provide you with literature to distribute to your employees.

For more information, please email or call our Volunteer Coordinator at 305-255-5551.