Volunteer at the Utica Zoo

Do you love animals? Are you looking for a fulfilling way to help out your local community?

If so, Utica Zoo is the place for you! The zoo has volunteer opportunities for all. With your support, the zoo can thrive and succeed in our mission of education, conservation, and recreation.

We have several volunteer positions to choose from:  special events volunteers, administrative volunteers, animal-care volunteers, zoo ambassadors, grounds and maintenance volunteers, and our docent programs.

Special Events Volunteers: 

Putting on special events at the zoo is not an easy task. We have several annual events to choose from. Please note that signing up for an event does not guarantee that you will be placed to work the event. We also need set-up and take-down help, before, during, and after each celebration. We ask that you sign up for events at least 3 weeks prior to the event. If you don’t know when the date of the event is, you can take a look at our events calendar! (uticazoo.org/events) Volunteers may sign up to help with various tasks for the following events:

  • Eggstravaganza (must be 18+ years old)
  • Earth Day (must be 18+ years old)
  • Wine in the Wilderness (must be 21+ years old)
  • Brewfest (must be 21 + years old)
  • Wildlife Festival (must be 18+ years old)
  • Spooktacular (must be 18+ years old)

Administrative Volunteers

From time to time, our office crew has large projects that they require extra hands with. Some of these projects include bulk mailing, rolling change, filing, data entry, and general clerical work. If you are skilled in this area, please let us know. These positions are filled on a per diem basis and submitting an application for these positions does not guarantee placement.

Animal-Care Volunteers

If you love working with and learning about different species of animals, this program may be for you. Animal-care volunteers work side by side with our animal care staff to keep our animals and exhibits clean, safe, and healthy. This can be physical work in sometimes harsh conditions, so you will need to be prepared for tough work! Those applying for animal care volunteer positions should note that there is a time commitment of at least 4 hours per week with a minimum of 6 months. Also, these positions are limited and filled on an “as needed” basis. You must be at least 18 years old to apply for an animal care volunteer position and submit a current Mantoux test.

Zoo Ambassadors

Zoo Ambassadors will work closely with the Gift Shop and Visitor Experience staff. The Ambassador will serve as a greeting to the zoo by manning a membership/info booth at the entrance gate, conducting visitor surveys and ensuring crowd control entering and exiting the gift shop during busy times. When needed, an ambassador can also work off-site membership/info booths. Zoo Ambassadors can also become “Mobile Vendors” for the gift shop by setting up tables throughout the zoo and selling specific merchandise tailored to the zoo’s activities. For security purposes, an ambassador can be a visual deterrent for shoplifters. Ambassadors can be found throughout the zoo to answer questions and provide an additional point of contact for visitors. Zoo Ambassadors should have the ability to work autonomously and speak publicly regarding zoo exhibits and animals.

This position will be during open business hours and peak months (May-October) only. This is a short term volunteer position with a minimum of 1 and maximum of 3 weekly hour commitment. This position will be offered to those over the age of 18. An insurance waiver will be required. This is a seasonal position but applications will be accepted continually. Interviews and orientations will be held as needed to fill openings.

Grounds and Maintenance Volunteers

Utica Zoo has over 30 acres of lawns, gardens, forests, flowerbeds, ponds, and buildings to maintain. If you have experience in painting, carpentry, or landscaping; this is the position for you! Maintenance volunteers work directly with our Maintenance and Grounds Supervisor to keep the zoo a beautiful and clean place to visit. Call today to set up your volunteer experience. (must be at least 18 years old to apply)

Docent/Zoo Crew*

Docents (age 18+) and Zoo Crew (age 14-18) are volunteers who love working with animals and people. As a Docent, you would be helping the zoo in its mission to educate the public about the importance of animals and where they live. The docent program requires completion of an orientation course which are offered twice per year. For more info on our docent or Zoo Crew program, Click Here. *Zoo Crew is the only volunteer opportunity for those under age 18, outside of coordinated, chaperoned groups.

Group Volunteers

Whether it is for a school project, part of a corporate benefits program, or just for family time; sometimes giving back as a group is the best way to help out your community. Utica Zoo utilizes group volunteers to help us with grounds work, cleanup before and after events, and other large outdoor projects. For more information, please see the Group Volunteer Application below. We can accept groups that range from 5 participants to 25 participants. *Please be aware that all participants must be a minimum of 14 years old and anyone under the age of 18 must be chaperoned (there must be 1 chaperone for every 5 children). Click here for the group application.

Volunteering is the basis to making a community strong. Here at Utica Zoo we love our volunteers! It is only with the helping hands of our volunteers that we are able to continue to be such a vital part of the community and continue our mission of education, conservation, and recreation.

To get started please complete the following and send to info@uticazoo.org or call 315-738-0472.

Please note, submitting an application does not guarantee placement at Utica Zoo as a volunteer.

Disclosure and Authorization for Consumer and/or Investigative Reports (Age 18+ for background screening)

Summary of Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (Age 18+)

Volunteer Application