Junior Zookeeper Program

Do you know a teen, age 12-18, who loves animals and wants to learn more about the Zoo? The Great Plains Zoo's Junior Zookeeper program is just for them!

As a Junior Zookeeper, teens have the opportunity to assist with our educational programs, care for animals in the Hy-Vee Face-to-Face Farm, and learn important job skills while working alongside professional Zookeepers.

The Junior Zookeeper program is open to young people ages 12-18. Each spring, the Zoo accepts applications and interviews candidates for the volunteer-based summer program. During your Junior Zookeeper experience, you will learn important job skills, practice public speaking, and develop a strong work ethic. The deadline to apply for the 2017 Junior ZooKeeper program will be announced in February.

To participate in the JZK program, participants must:

  • Be 12 to 18 years old on June 10, 2017.
  • Be willing to volunteer consistently throughout the summer for at least two shifts per week.
  • Attend orientation and any other required training.
  • Provide evidence of a negative TB test.
  • Provide their own lunch and transportation to and from the Zoo.
  • Pay a program fee of $85 for members and $100 for non-members.

Junior Zookeeper Program Levels

Level 1 - (Teens ages 12 and 13) Junior Zookeepers will assist with ZooCamp, present animal artifacts called “biofacts” to Zoo guests or entertain visitors by dressing up in one of the Zoo's mascot costumes.

Level 2 - (Teens ages 14 to 18) Junior Zookeepers will care for the animals in the Hy-Vee Face-to-Face Farm, present daily Creature Features to visitors, and help with ZooCamp.

Both levels require a minimum commitment of two shifts each week, a negative TB test, and attendance at orientation in May. Level 2 JZKs are also required to work at least one weekend shift a month and are expected to volunteer for at least one summer special event at the Zoo.

Please note: Levels are based on participant age. No exceptions will be made.

For more information, call 605.367.8313, ext. 233, or email us at education@gpzoo.org.