Junior Zookeepers

Experience life at Cosley Zoo through our unique Junior Zookeeper program.

What is the Junior Zookeepers program?

The Junior Zookeepers (JZ) program is for young adults in grades 7 through 12 that have a strong interest in science and conservation. At its core, it is a trade. Cosley Zoo provides JZs with comprehensive training in animal care, education, and visitor services, diverse opportunities to use that training, and chances to visit other facilities, speak with people in animal and conservation-based careers, and meet other teens with similar interests. In return, the JZs support Cosley Zoo by volunteering for special events, animal care, and educational programs. Aside from being a lot of fun, the Junior Zookeeper program also helps to build life skills, including leadership, responsibility, time management, and teamwork.

What's the Commitment?

The Junior Zookeepers program is a year-round commitment that runs from September through August. As a Junior Zookeeper, you can expect to contribute at least 60 hours per year. The program is broken into quarters:


Junior Zookeepers are required to accumulate at least 12 hours of service during each of the first three quarters (September-May). During the summer quarter (June-August) JZs are required to accumulate at least 24 hours. JZs are also required to attend monthly meetings, held on the second Saturday of each month from 9-11 am.

How do I earn hours?
Hours can be earned by attending the monthly JZ meetings. You may also earn hours volunteering for Zoo events/programs and through animal handling once eligible. During the summer quarter (June-August) Junior Zookeepers meeting the specific requirements may select a half-day shift to work once per week for 10 weeks. This is called Summer Incentives, and it's a great opportunity for the JZs to use the training they have received throughout the year.

What does it cost?

To help offset the cost of JZ T-shirts, nametags, program materials, staffing, and travel and admission for the JZ day trip, we ask each participant to pay a participation fee. The fee for the 2013/2014 year is $100. Do not submit the fee with your application; all accepted JZs will be notified of the fee due date.

Maximum Participants: 30

Thirty participants will be accepted into the Junior Zookeeper program. Selection will be based on past involvement at Cosley Zoo, your application, and your interview.

How do I apply?

The applications for the 2014-2015 season are due on August 13th, 2014. Applications are available for pick up in the Wild Side Gift Shop or are available online. Please click here to download this year’s application.

Looking for a shorter commitment?

Cosley Zoo has a Summer Teen Volunteer Program. Click here for more information.

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Junior Zookeeper

Volunteering as a Junior Zookeeper is a great way to explore what it's like to work with with animals in a zoo setting.

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