Become a Volunteer
Volunteers have been making a difference at the Louisville Zoo for over 45 years! Share your time, talent and enthusiasm in a stimulating environment and you won’t go away empty-handed. Volunteer benefits include learning about the animal world, its ecology and conservation, making new friends, developing new skills and contributing to the quality of life in your community.
During the 2022-23 fiscal year (July – June) fiscal year, the Louisville Zoo had a total of 1,405 volunteers in a variety of departments including horticulture, maintenance, administrative and even in animal areas. Together they contributed over 26,908.90 hours valued at $705,921.79 (inclusive of benefits) equal to 31 full-time employees.
Where are volunteers needed?
You may volunteer in almost every area of the Zoo. The area you choose depends on your personal interest and available time. The Zoo offers volunteer opportunities in the areas of animal care (no hands-on contact), education, horticulture and special events.
What do you need to become a volunteer?
An interest in animals and people, a considerate disposition and a willingness to share and grow are some of the desirable qualities for Zoo volunteers. There are volunteer opportunities for anyone age 13 and above. All volunteers must have a current Tuberculin skin test. There is also a special youth program for those 13–18 years of age.
How do volunteers begin?
To discuss the possibilities with our Coordinator of Volunteers simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or print and fill out the online volunteer form. We will be happy to work with you to select just the right volunteer opportunity that matches your availability, interests and any special needs.
- Adult Volunteer Application 2023
- Teen Application 2024 (accepted January 2 – March 1, 2024)
Once the application process is complete, your schedule will be prepared and you will be
shown to your job area and introduced to your supervisor. At that time, a job description and any other instructions that you may need will be provided. Should you wish to try something new or your interest level expand, the Coordinator of Volunteers will assist you in making necessary arrangements.
Are There Additional Benefits for Volunteers?
Active Volunteers will receive:
- A 50% discount on all food and drinks purchased at all concession stands while on duty and wearing a volunteer badge.
- An invitation to annual volunteer recognition dinner.
- Invitations to special previews.
- A 40% discount in Gift Shop.
- A 10% discount on purchase of Zoo membership.
- A subscription to the Trunkline newsletter.
- Birthday card.
- Yearly hours lapel pin.
What is the Zoo Youth Board?
The 50-member Zoo Youth Board is made up of students age 13–18 (or until graduation). Click here to learn more about this amazing group of young people.
What is a Docent?
Docents are volunteers that have successfully completed an educational training program designed to give them advanced knowledge and skills to assist the education department with programs and aid in furthering the zoo’s mission “To Better the Bond Between People and our Planet”. You can see Docents throughout our zoo, interpreting in exhibit areas and engaging with the public, often with fun biofacts! They also assist in educational programs, teaching visitors of all ages about the zoo and the animals in our world. Docents are a valuable asset to our already wonderful Volunteer Program. To find out more about this program, visit Docent Volunteer Organization.
The Zoo’s Commitment to Volunteers
The Louisville Zoo’s mission is to better the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in conservation education.
Volunteers are integral to this goal as we educate, entertain and involve diverse groups of people from all walks of life. The Coordinator of Volunteers and Zoo staff will work with you to make your time at the Zoo enjoyable, productive and educational.