Thank you for your interest in the Memphis Zoo's volunteer program. We are very pleased to have an active and dedicated group of volunteers making a difference at the Memphis Zoo – and hope that you will become a part of our team!

Why Volunteer?

Volunteering at the Memphis Zoo is and excellent way to support our mission and give back to the community. Interested in a Zoo career? Volunteering is an excellent way to gain practical experience in many zoo related fields.

Types of Volunteers

General volunteers – long-term volunteers who adhere to an ongoing schedule and come regularly to the Zoo to do various tasks.  Level of commitment: medium.

Interns—college students who volunteer for a set period of time to gain practical and management experience within their field of study.  Level of commitment: high.  Look below under INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES for more information.

Special Event Volunteers—volunteers age 14 and older who work various seasonal exhibits and during special events.  Level of commitment: low.   Click here to inquire about Volunteering for Special Events.

Group Volunteers—groups of people who come as a whole, representing any type of organization, to volunteer collectively either during special events or periodically on small projects.  Level of commitment: low. Click here to get started.

Docents—volunteers who educate the public about our animals at the exhibit areas, conduct scheduled tours of the Zoo, and give talks to organizations. Docents are important members of the Zoo community that bring to their role a deep interest in the natural world and a desire to share that knowledge with others.  Level of commitment: high. Click here to inquire about the Docent program.

How To Get Started

The following steps are required to become an active General Volunteer:

  • Complete our online Volunteer Application Form.
  • See our list of available Volunteer Opportunities and decide which opportunities interest you most and match your availability and skills.
  • Review our FAQs page.
  • Attend a Volunteer Information Session interview to learn more about the Memphis Zoo and the opportunities.
  • Pay a $50 Volunteer Membership Fee (covers background check, onsite training, badge, and uniform shirt).
  • Pass a background check.
  • Attend an orientation to complete all paperwork and receive materials and uniform.
  • Begin volunteering!

Special Event Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are needed to help staff our special and fundraising events at the Memphis Zoo. If your business would like a great way to get your employees involved, volunteering at the Zoo's special events could be the answer! Students - Zoo Boo and SunTrust Zoo Lights events are a great way to earn your required service hours with over 40 nights of opportunities to volunteer! Special event volunteers are booked through one main contact at your school, organization or business and volunteers work during the event. Independent volunteers should contact the Volunteer Coordinators directly.  Special event volunteers for Zoo Boo and SunTrust Zoo Lights work the entire shift of the event. No long term commitment or experience necessary.


Special Events Volunteer Requirements:

  • All volunteers must be a minimum of 14 years of age. ; 14 and 15 year old volunteers must have a parent or guardian accompany and volunteer with them.
  • All volunteers must be reliable, hard working, able to follow instructions, able to work independently and able to work in outdoor weather conditions.
  • All volunteers must be people oriented and able to focus on the guests (refrain from using cell phones, iPods, etc.).
  • All (one time event) volunteers must complete and submit a Volunteer Waiver Form prior to volunteering.
  • Volunteer Groups must have a 1:5 adult (21+) to youth (18 and under) ratio and a group application on file.
  • Zoo Boo and Zoo Lights volunteers must work the entire shift.  

Special Event Volunteer Opportunities

  • Earth Day Celebration – It’s your environment; help protect it!  Raise awareness for environmental issues by operating game or information stations.
  • Zoom through the Zoo – 4K run in and around the Zoo.
  • Members’ Night—an event in honor of our members. 
  • Dreamnight at the Zoo—an event for critically ill and/or severely disabled children
  • Harvest Fest—a celebration of harvest time and local artisans.
  • Senior Day—a day free for Senior Citizens.
  • Zoo Boo—a seasonal Halloween event with various fun volunteer positions available
  • Zoo Lights—month long, winter Holiday event with various positions available. 
  • Others as they arise

Special Event Volunteer Benefits:

  • An opportunity to become a part of wildlife conservation and education in your community.
  • Get your group involved with the Zoo.
  • The chance to meet people and share the excitement of the Zoo.
  • Complete required service hours for school.

Internship Opportunities

We offer UNPAID internships in the following areas:

  • Animals of the Night
  • Cat Country/Zambezi River Hippo Camp
  • Primate Canyon
  • Northwest Passage/Teton Trek
  • African Veldt
  • Pachyderms
  • Hoofstock
  • Birds
  • Education/Guest Engagement
  • Volunteer Management
  • Photographer

Click HERE to view open internship opportunities and to apply online.


Volunteer Opportunities

We currently offer volunteer opportunities in the following areas:
  • Retail
  • Rides Assistants
  • Nutrition Center
  • Horticulture
  • Special Events
  • Information Technology
  • Seasonal Exhibits
Animal Areas:
  • Once Upon a Farm
  • Hatchery
  • Hoofstock
  • Penguins
  • Tropical Bird House
Please note: There are no volunteer opportunities available in CHINA, Cat Country, Northwest Passage, Teton Trek, Dragon's Lair or Pachyderms.

Become a Docent
A docent is a specially trained Zoo volunteer who interacts with the public at animal exhibits, gives guided tours, assists with educational classes, volunteers with special events as well as a variety of other activities that aid the Zoo in fulfilling its mission.
What Is Required To Be A Docent?

All docents are required to be a general volunteer and complete a training program consisting of classroom work and on-grounds exploration. Docents meet a minimum number of hours per year, become a member of the Zoo and must be at least 21 years old.  Contact us for more information.

Have more questions?  Check our our FAQ