Volunteer Programs

If you have a sincere interest in animals and conservation, enjoy working with people, and are enthusiastic and dependable, our Volunteer Programs are for you. 

Adult Volunteers

As a volunteer, you'll receive on-the-job training from staff and other volunteers in the project area you choose.

Adult Volunteer Requirements

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must attend a volunteer orientation.
  • Background check required (non-refundable $25 admin fee applies). Volunteer Application and Background Check forms provided at Orientation.

Adult Volunteer Orientations
Adult volunteer orientations always meet at the bronze tiger statue in the Entry Village circle at 11 am and last about an hour. They occur twice monthly on Thursdays and Sundays. You do not need to pay for zoo admission or parking to attend.

Adult Volunteer Orientation Dates *

Thursdays Sundays
10/9/14   10/12/14
11/13/14   11/23/14
12/4/14   12/14/14


*Dates are subject to change.

Docents

Become a docent and inspire future conservationists. Docents support our mission by connecting guests to wildlife through informative talks, biofact presentations, and school tours. You can be a part of a vibrant community of volunteers who care about conserving wildlife. You'll meet new friends and learn all about the animals from Zoo staff.

To be a docent, you must be at least 18 years of age and you must participate in our docent training program, offered annually. In this 10-week course, you’ll be trained on public speaking, conservation, Zoo history and operation, animal care, taxonomy, and behavior. Docents are required to volunteer 10 hours per month.

Contact us to learn how to get involved before the next training class, to register for the course, or to learn more about our Docent Program. Please e-mail zooguide@sfzoo.org or call (415) 753-7122. 

Please attend an upcoming Adult Volunteer Orientation (see above) for more information about becoming a Zoo Docent.
The next Docent Training Class will begin in Spring of 2015 - check here for more details coming soon.

Teen Volunteers

The Zoo supports future conservation action through engaging youth development volunteer opportunities. We have popular summer and year-round programs that are designed to be fun and educational while building job readiness skills and inspiring youth to appreciate, care for, and conserve nature.

Teen Volunteer Requirements

  • You must attend the scheduled orientation.
  • You must attend the scheduled trainings.
  • You must meet the age requirements for the program.
  • You must complete the application process.

Zoo Crew
Volunteer on a team to restore wildlife habitat at Lake Merced and other local sites.
Parameters: 

  • Ages 11-14
  • Program runs: September through June
  • Hours: One Saturday per month, from 10 am to 12 pm

Nature Trail
Learn to handle birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians and speak to the public about wildlife and conservation.
Parameters: 

  • Ages 12-14 (must be 12 by Memorial Day)
  • Program runs: Memorial Day to Labor Day
  • Hours: 2 days per week, 10 am to 4:45 pm

Talk on the Wild Side
Learn to handle amazing animals like livestock and arthropods while giving informational talks to Zoo visitors. Utilize biofact carts to educate the public.
Parameters: 

  • Ages 14 - 17
  • Program runs: Memorial Day to Labor Day
  • Hours: 2 days per week, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Zoo Teacher Assistant
Help kids explore the world of animals through zoo tours, crafts, games and assist Zoo Camp teachers with activities. Gain practical work experience with children.
Parameters: 

  • Ages 14-17 
  • Program runs: mid-June through mid-August
  • Hours: A daily half-day or full-day shift for a minimum of four weeks over the course of the summer

Please e-mail questions to youth@sfzoo.org or call (415) 753-8123.

View our Youth Volunteer Programs flier for 2014-2015 school year here. 

All Programs have a mandatory orientation. Orientations are held in the Connie and Bob Lurie Education Center, just to the left of the Main Entrance. You do not need to pay Zoo admission to access the Connie and Bob Lurie Education Center.

 

2015 Orientation Dates

Zoo Crew    Saturday, Aug 1 from 10-11 am
   
Nature Trail   Sat., Feb 7 or Sun.,
Feb 15 from 10 am-noon (attend only one)
     
Talk on the Wild Side!   Sat., Feb 7 from 1-2 pm
   
Zoo Teacher Assistant   Sat., Mar 14 from 10-11 am
   

Renew the Zoo

Spend a Saturday beautifying the Zoo.The role of the Zoo's Horticulture Department is more than just to create beautiful gardens for the animals and visitors, it is also to help spread the message of habitat conservation and vegetation management.

Participation means:

  • Weeding and clean-up to eliminate the need for harmful pesticides
  • Meeting new people of diverse backgrounds and all ages who share your commitment to conserving the Earth's plant and animal species
  • Sharing your expertise and developing new skills and interests
  • Becoming part of San Francisco Zoo's history
  • Contributing to the ongoing development and improvement of the Zoo
  • Getting really, really dirty

Who can volunteer? 
Adults and children (adult:child ratio must be at least 1 adult per 5 children).

When can I volunteer?  
The second Saturday of March, June, September, and December, from 8:00 am to 11:00 am Please be prompt. We will be closing the gates at 8:15. No late entries allowed.

Where do we meet? 
Meet by the old entrance gate on Sloat Blvd. and 45th Avenue. 

What do I wear?
Something warm and comfortable that you don't mind getting dirty. The Zoo provides tools and work gloves, but if you have work gloves, bring them just in case. Please wear sturdy work shoes.

E-mail other questions to renewthezoo@sfzoo.org.


Sponsoring a Corporate Renew the Zoo Event

Groups of all sizes can sponsor a private Renew the Zoo day for their companies. At a Corporate Renew the Zoo day, your group works as a team to complete Zoo projects that ultimately benefit our Bay Area community. In addition to having fun and building team camaraderie, your group receives admission to the Zoo, refreshments and free ride coupons. Zoo staff coordinate each event to make sure that your group enjoys its day at the Zoo.

Please e-mail questions about Corporate Renew the Zoo to development@sfzoo.org.

Pre-registration is required 
Sign up individually, although families may register as a group. When you register, you will receive an email confirmation. Please do not attend unless your registration has been confirmed. Print and bring your e-mailed registration to the event
. Click on a date below to register: