Volunteers are the heart of our mission to save animals

Zoo Ambassador


All Volunteers are Zoo Ambassadors

We view our volunteers as ambassadors of the zoo as they play a vital role in interacting with guests and inspiring everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives. This position offers the most flexibility in scheduling, and there is a wide variety of volunteer opportunities to choose from. Listed below are the training requirements and opportunities available to zoo ambassadors.

Training - Required of All New Volunteers


New volunteers are required to complete the zoo ambassador training program which consists of a two-day training session followed by a minimum of two 3-hour mentored shifts with an experienced zoo ambassador. All interested applicants must have sufficient availability to attend two days of training and at least two self-scheduled mentored shifts in the weeks following their initial training session.

Additionally, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 if accepted into zoo ambassador training. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine. Volunteer placement offers may be withdrawn for individuals who do not comply with this policy.

Woodland Park Zoo is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education, and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in participating in zoo ambassador training, contact Volunteer Program staff at (206) 548-2450 or volunteer@zoo.org.


Zoo Ambassador Opportunities

Ambassador Shift
Actively greet and help guests enjoy their visit by giving directions, answering questions, pointing out animals and sharing your passion for the zoo! This is the primary role of our volunteers!

Animal Observations
Help the zoo’s Animal Care staff to gather data for a variety of projects focused on welfare, empathy, and more.

Community Outreach
Engage with the public and assist staff at community festivals and events outside of the zoo’s gates.

*Community Science - Limited openings available
Help the zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Division to gather data, help monitor local wildlife species and engage with local community members in the greater Seattle metropolitan area.

Exploration Stations
Deliver informal programs at the zoo focusing on a variety of topics such as animal enrichment, palm oil consumption, and more.

Special Events
Contribute to successful zoo events by providing directions and event information, engaging with guests, assisting children with arts and crafts, and more.

*WildKeepers - Limited openings available
Help animal keepers across the zoo with a variety of physically demanding, yet personally rewarding projects. This opportunity typically involves removing invasive plants, cleaning exhibit areas, and hauling and moving gravel – volunteer must meet a minimum requirement of being able to maneuver across uneven terrain and lift/carry 20lbs. *Limited openings available.

Engage with young guests by facilitating play and helping with early childhood learning in Zoomazium.

Zoo ambassadors who meet the minimum service requirements will have more opportunities available to them as zoo needs arise.



Docents are the Informal Educators at the Zoo


They bring our mission to inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives to life!

Docents play an integral role in communicating the conservation and education goals of the zoo and facilitate learning experiences through the use of touchable props and visuals! Docent volunteers go through an additional application, training, and mentorship process. Docent training is usually held every 2-3 years in the fall/winter and upcoming trainings will be announced to active volunteers.

Docents are required to devote 30 hours per year of their total volunteer service to docent-specific activities and are still zoo ambassadors expected to meet the minimum service requirement of 6 hours per month.

Docent Opportunities

The following activities are open to current zoo ambassadors who successfully complete the docent application process and training program: 

Discovery Station
Facilitate visitor exploration of physical objects set on a stationary cart. The objects on the cart are thematically developed and encourage connecting everyone to nature, increasing ecological literacy and providing clear pathways to conservation. Visitors are encouraged to use their experience at the cart as they explore further zoo exhibits, make observations and investigate their questions about animals at the zoo.

Conservation Connection Cart
Utilize props at stationary carts, facilitate conversations intended to increase awareness of Woodland Park Zoo’s supported global field conservation partners. Encourage conversations around empathy, perspective taking and advise specific conservation actions for our visitors, or brainstorm with them!

Exhibit Interpretation
Move through the exhibits at the zoo, engaging visitors in interpretive conversations utilizing animal biofacts, props and the exhibit features. This opportunity to help our visitors develop a deeper understanding of wildlife and habitat by truly involving them in the dialogue.

Provide hour length tours on specific bioclimatic zones at the zoo, specific animals and more. Tours only done based on special requests.

Volunteer Events Team


The Volunteer Events Team (VET) is the intersection between general event volunteers and the staff from the Events and Volunteer Engagement Department.

Volunteers in VET must be 18 years of age. These volunteers work with the staff from the Events and Volunteer Engagement Departments to help coordinate the volunteer duties and be a liaison between staff and the general volunteers during some WPZ Events. VET members go through an additional application, training, and mentorship process as a trainee before becoming a full VET member.

  • Volunteers must be active for 6 months and have participated in at least 2 events as a Zoo Ambassador volunteer before applying for the VET team.
  • All Volunteers, including VET, are required to complete 72 hours per year of volunteer service, roughly 6 hours per month or 18 hours per quarter.
  • VET members are required to devote 40 hours per year of their total volunteer service to event related activities, and should be able to participate in at least 4 ZooTunes concerts each summer.

Horticulture Volunteer


Horticulture Volunteers assist in the care and maintenance of various plants and gardens on zoo grounds (including the Woodland Park Rose Garden).

Horticulture volunteer opportunities are offered on a limited basis to current zoo ambassadors who are 18 years or older and can commit to a regular weekly shift for a minimum of six months. Typically, available shifts are on weekday mornings. These shifts are physical in nature - volunteers must be able to maneuver on uneven ground, and bend, lift, or kneel.

Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.

Land Acknowledgment

Woodland Park Zoo recognizes that these are the lands of the Tribal signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliott. We acknowledge their stewardship of this place continues to this day and that it is our responsibility to join them to restore the relationship with the living world around us.

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Seattle Parks & Recreation
Humane Certification

5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |   zooinfo@zoo.org