Volunteer at Brookfield Zoo!

Volunteer at Brookfield Zoo

Thank you for your interest in serving the Chicago Zoological Society at Brookfield Zoo as a volunteer. Recruitment for 2016 positions has concluded. Please check back in February 2017 for available volunteer opportunities. Thank you for your support of Brookfield Zoo!

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Caring! It's our nature!

Become a community conservation leader at Brookfield Zoo!

Our Volunteers

All our volunteers are passionate about Brookfield Zoo and its animals and join us for one main reason: to create extraordinary experiences for our guests! If you enjoy talking with people about animals, nature, and conservation, and you enjoy being outdoors, we have a volunteer program tailor-made just for you!

Is Our Volunteer Program Right For You?

Are You?
At least 18 years old;
Passionate about educating people of all ages and backgrounds about animals, nature, and conservation;

  • Friendly, outgoing, and dependable;
  • Committed to providing our guests the highest standards of customer service;
  • Able to attend required one-day Volunteer Orientation/Hospitality Training Program;
  • Able to contribute a minimum of 4-8 service hours each month or 4 hours each week for "summer-only"volunteers;
  • Willing to complete on-site training with experienced volunteers/staff and/or additional workshops, as required;
  • A current zoo member or able to purchase a zoo membership plan at a 50% discount upon becoming a volunteer
  • Able to contribute a $25 materials fee (Note: Should either  financial commitment cause economic hardship for you, it can be waived.)

Teen Volunteers
For information on the King Conservation Science Scholars Program, including volunteer opportunities for teens age 13 to 17, click HERE.

Volunteer Recognition
In recognition of service to the Society, volunteers receive:
  • The satisfaction of making a meaningful impact of service to the field of conservation;
  • Chances to cultivate new relationships with others who are also passionate about animals and nature;
  • Networking opportunities to connect with new professional contacts;
  • Opportunities to serve on innovative project and planning teams;
  • A fun experience every time you volunteer at the zoo;
  • Continuing education workshops, self-directed training, and meetings designed to enhance your skills and knowledge that will benefit you both professionally and personally;
  • 20% discount at zoo restaurants and gift shops;
  • 10% discount on catered events such as Breakfast with Santa,  and private events such as weddings, birthday parties;
  • Free refills on soft drinks and coffee when you use your volunteer mug or your own reusable cup, 16 oz or less;
  • Free passes to give to family, friends, and coworkers (20 passes per year);
  • Free uniform shirt;
  • Free Annual Earned Membership based on number of service hours you contribute;
  • Free Annual Appreciation Dinner – bring one guest at no extra charge!;
  • Service Award pins;
  • Free subscriptions to the Society’s quarterly magazine for members, Gateways, and other Society publications;
  • Members/Volunteer discount for Society lectures, classes, and other events;
  • Exclusive invitations to preview new exhibits before the general public;
  • Access to the Society’s on-site library, including on-line circulation access;
  • Tax deductions as allowed by law (for details, contact the IRS for publication “526-Charitable Contributions”).

We are  most happy to accomodate persons who use wheel-chairs, ECV's etc. Persons who need to sit frequently are most welcome to bring small personal sitting stools/chairs with them to their assignments.

Working Directly with Animals

Our volunteers do not handle animals and are not involved in animal husbandry. If you are interested in gaining hands-on experience working with animals for your career development, and are currently enrolled in a university degree program, consider our  Internship Program. If interested, please visit the College Experiential Learning Opportunities (CELO) webpage for more information and a list of open opportunities.

Paid Positions

If you are looking for paid job opportunities, please apply here instead: www.CZS.org/Brookfield-ZOO/Careers/Job-Openings


Apply for our volunteer program today by clicking here: Volunteer Online Application Form. After an in-person interview, successful completion of a background check, and participation in a required one-day Volunteer Orientation/Customer Service Training Program, selected volunteer applicants will begin their service and complete on-site training with experienced volunteers and staff.

Volunteer Online Application

QUESTIONS? Please contact us at volunteers@czs.org.

Thank you for your interest in becoming a community conservation leader for the Chicago Zoological Society!

About Brookfield Zoo

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