Volunteer FAQ's

When will I hear back regarding my application?

Since we receive so many applications, please be patient! Keep in mind that incomplete applications will not be considered. Please be sure to check the email address listed on your application, including spam folders!

What are the requirements to volunteer?

All volunteers must be at least 14 years old. You must meet our availability requirements along with any additional skill sets required for the volunteer positions. Please be aware that our needs are constantly changing but current information is always posted on the website.

Volunteers must present a current Pennsylvania Criminal Background check at orientation and a current, cleared PA Child Abuse History Clearance before beginning their assignment.

Volunteers 18 years and older whose permanent residence is outside of Pennsylvania must also present a cleared FBI Criminal Background check, including fingerprinting. Volunteers are responsible for the cost of these background checks.

How much do the clearances cost?

Prices may vary depending on state and background check. As of 2013, a PA State Criminal Background check costs $10.00; a PA Child Abuse Clearance costs $10.00 and only money orders are accepted.

FBI Clearances are $18.00 plus the cost of fingerprinting. Contact your local police department to find out if they provide fingerprinting services. You may also contact Rosa Fingerprinting Center City.

Am I allowed to touch or interact with the animals when I volunteer?

For adults, the only volunteer opportunity that allows contact with animals is the Animal Care Internship. Positions are limited and highly competitive.

High school students have the opportunity to work directly with animals in the Zoo CREW program and the Junior Ambassador Program (second year only).

Otherwise, for the safety of our animals and staff, there are no volunteer opportunities that work directly with animals.

What might I do as a volunteer?

You can volunteer in many different capacities. Please check the website for a complete list of our current opportunities. Most volunteers support our Education team by teaching Zoo guests about animals and wildlife conservation.

Please note that volunteers do not assist with caring for animals like primates and big cats or perform janitorial tasks.

Can I volunteer with friends from a local group or co-workers?

Yes! We welcome groups from any organization to come and help out with Boo at the Zoo, held the last two weekends in October.

Can I bring my child along to volunteer?

Children who are at least 14 years old are welcome to apply for one of our ongoing teen volunteer programs or Boo at the Zoo. Children younger than 14 years old will not be permitted to serve or accompany a volunteer.

I need to complete court-mandated service. Can I do my service hours at the Zoo?

We do not offer service to court-mandated volunteers.

I am a high school student who needs to complete community service hours to graduate. Can I do my service hours at the Zoo?

All teens are eligible to apply for our Conservation Stewards program. We will provide written confirmation of service hours upon request. Note that this program is only offered April through October and requires a minimum of 24 hours of service.