An Entirely Different Way to Experience the Zoo
Great Plains Zoo's Junior Zookeeper summer program offers kids between the ages of 12 and 18 years old firsthand career experience in the world of zoology. This priceless opportunity for teens interested in animals helps them develop life skills and allows them to work directly with animals and kids in a fun and exciting environment.
2023 Junior Zookeeper season is complete. Applications for 2024 will go live in February.
To participate in the JZK program, participants must:
- Be 12 to 18 years old on June 1, 2023
- Be willing to volunteer consistently throughout the summer for at least 2 half-day shifts per week
- Available shifts are 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
- Attend orientation and any other required training
- Provide evidence of a negative TB test
- Provide their own lunch (if needed) and transportation to and from the Zoo
- Pay a program fee of $85 for members and $100 for non-members (tax included)
- The fee covers the cost of materials, 2 uniform t-shirts, and educational opportunities
- Please do not send this fee with your application
Scholarships may be available if the program fee is a hardship for your family. Please contact Education@GPZoo.org for more information.
Note for Families:
- The Junior ZooKeeper program is a commitment for the entire summer. We know that many teens have vacations or other camp programs, but if your child has significant summer commitments, please contact Education@GPZoo.org to see if accommodations can be made.
- The program is open to a limited number of participants.
- All Junior ZooKeepers are supervised by seasonal or full-time Zoo staff during their shifts.
The online application for summer 2023 will be available beginning Feb. 24, 2023. Click here to apply.
- Complete an application and submit it by Friday, April 7
- Returning JZKs should submit their applications by Friday, March 17
- Teens selected for an interview will receive an invitation
- Interviews for returning applicants will be held on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2
- Interviews for new applicants will be held on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30
- Teens selected for the program will receive notification of acceptance by May 8
- The program will kick off with a party on Wednesday, May 24
- Program fee, TB tests, and scheduling calendars must be turned in on this date
- Orientation is required for all JZKs
- Levels White & Yellow will have orientation from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Tuesday, May 30
- Levels Red & Purple will have orientation from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM on Wednesday, May 31
- The program begins on June 1 and ends on Aug. 13
- JZKs will be recognized for their hard work at an Achievement Ceremony on Aug. 16