Skip to main content


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, and assisting with special events. Docents undergo in-depth training 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.

The dates for our 2024 orientations are:

May 25 from 10 to 11 AM
June 15 from 10 to 11 AM
July 13 from 10 to 11 AM
August 10 from 10 to 11 AM
September 7 from 10 to 11 AM
October 12 from 10 to 11 AM
November 16 from 10 to 11 AM
December 7 from 10 to 11 AM


  • 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.
  • Submit $100 registration fee to cover the cost of uniforms and training, payable upon acceptance to the program.
  • Submit $36 in annual dues each year to stay active in the program. Dues cover the cost of additional trainings, volunteer activities, special events, and more!

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.

Apply Now

500 Ninos Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93103