Adult Volunteer Opportunities



Are you genuinely interested in animals, people, nature, and conservation?  Do you enjoy learning and teaching others?  Would you like to make new friends and professional contacts? Do you want to have fun?

Attend the Volunteer Expo to learn about the many volunteer options available at your local Zoo and get involved in your community!


Prospective Volunteer and Docent Expo and Orientation

Please complete an online application!


Volunteer Informational:

  • Saturday, September 13, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Orientation: (please note that date may be subject to change)

  • Saturday, September 20, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Volunteers staff a variety of positions in support of the zoo’s operations including day and evening special events. Exceptional customer service skills are necessary. Ambassadors are scheduled based on the needs of the events and receive on-the-job training for most positions.

Assignments include:
  • Administrative/Clerical - Volunteers perform a variety of office duties including data entry, filing, copying, and preparing mailings. Requirements: Experience working in an office environment is preferred and attention to detail and accuracy are important. Administrative volunteers work on flexible schedules with on-the-job training.
  • Grounds Beautification -Volunteers perform duties as required for the care and maintenance of Zoo grounds, such as weeding and litter removal. Requirements: Ability to perform work outside, bending repeatedly and working on one's knees is necessary. Ability to identify different plants is desirable. Grounds beautification volunteers work on flexible schedules with on-the-job training.


Keeper Aide (KA)

Volunteers perform duties as required for the care and maintenance of Zoo exhibits. Maintenance activities include scrubbing and hosing enclosures, removing trash, and assisting keepers with various projects.


  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Must be able to commit to at least 6 months once training is completed. 
  • Must be able to lift 50 lbs., and perform physically demanding tasks (such as scrubbing and raking) repeatedly for a long period of time.
  • Must be available to volunteer for a 4-hour shift once a week. Shifts are:
    • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (During Fall and Winter.)
  • Must be able to submit a negative tuberculosis (TB) test on an annual basis to the Volunteer Office.
  • Must be able to comply with Zoo dress code.
  • Training includes:
    • Three Onsite Classes – Prospective volunteers must pass each class with an 80% success rate or better in order to move on to the next part.
    • 5 Weeks of Keeper Shadow – Volunteers must be able to come in once a week from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (or 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.) for five weeks. Regular on-going schedules are discussed after evaluations.


Docent (Volunteer Educator)

Santa Barbara Zoo Docents are volunteer teachers who share their knowledge of the Zoo and the natural world connecting with our guests, interpreting exhibits, running activities, using bio-facts and kits, leading tours, participating in observational research, assisting with children's programs and special events. Docents undergo an in-depth training offered only twice a year, on topics such as interpretation, natural history, ecology, botany, conservation, and the history of the Zoo.

Hundreds of people have donated their time and talent to the Docent program since 1963.  Join history in the making during our 50th year!


  • Must be 16 years or older.
  • Strong public speaking and exceptional customer service skills are essential.
  • Must be available to volunteer for at least 2 hours a week.
  • Must be able to submit a negative tuberculosis (TB) test on an annual basis to the Volunteer Office.
  • Must be able to clear a Department of Justice (DOJ) Background check. (If you are 16-17 years old, then you will need to clear the DOJ when you turn eighteen.)
  • Please be aware that once training is finished this program requires a minimum commitment of six months.


How Do I Start Volunteering?

Find out how here.

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