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Santa Barbara Zoo Docents are volunteer teachers who share their knowledge of the Zoo and the natural world, connecting with our guests by interpreting exhibits, running activities, using bio-facts and kits, leading tours, participating in observational research, and assisting with children’s programs and special events. Docents undergo 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.


  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Strong public speaking and exceptional customer service skills.
  • Can volunteer for at least two hours per week.
  • Submit proof of negative tuberculosis (TB) test to the Volunteer Office annually.
  • Clear Department of Justice (DOJ) background check.


Please be aware that once training is finished, this program requires a minimum commitment of six months. Prospective volunteers must pass each training course with an 80% success rate or better in order to move on to the next part.

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500 Ninos Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93103