Our zoo relies on volunteers to help us carry out our mission: inspiring connections to wildlife and action toward conservation in our region and around the world.

Whether in education, special events or horticulture, volunteers make an impact every day. If you’re looking for a rewarding service opportunity, you have come to the right place!

In 2019, volunteers spent 3,149 hours assisting staff and education visitors, an estimated monetary value of $88,630!

Volunteer Opportunities

For teens ages 13-17 looking to volunteer we have our Zoo Crew summer program.

Looking for an internship? Please see our internship opportunities here.  

How do I become a volunteer?

  1. Read through the positions below to determine what interests you most.
  2. Email the manager and ask for a Volunteer Application.
  3. Complete the Volunteer Application and return it to the manager.
  4. The manager will contact you to schedule an information and interview session where you’ll receive a better understanding of the program and position(s) you are interested in.
  5. Upon clearance of a background check, you will be invited to participate in orientation and training sessions for the positions you are interested in.
  6. During orientation/training, you will learn about the zoo and receive training on customer service, safety and general policies. You will also be trained in your specific position and learn how to access the online volunteer schedule.
  7. You will receive your name tag, purchase a volunteer shirt, and be officially welcomed as a Lake Superior Zoo Volunteer!

Animal Care Volunteer

Volunteers work under the direct supervision of the Animal Care staff. General responsibilities include cleaning animal holdings, diet preparation, and general housekeeping. Volunteers must be able to clean, sweep, hose, cut up diets, lift heavy loads, and follow specific directions. Animal Care Volunteers do not have direct animal contact but assist in the upkeep of their habitats. At least 8 hours per month commitment in a six-month time period is required.

Please contact our Director of Animal Care, Lizzy Larson, with any questions: llarson@lszoo.org

Horticulture Volunteers

Horticulture Volunteers are vital to keeping the zoo grounds looking colorful all year long! They work with the zoo grounds crew to create and maintain gardens on the grounds, work with the greenhouse, assist with indoor plant upkeep, and help with seasonal outdoor preparations (spring set up and winterizing).

Request a Horticulture Volunteer Application by emailing Allison Pribnow: apribnow@lszoo.org.

Special Event Volunteers

Special Event Volunteers do a variety of jobs at our zoo events including set-up, zoo decoration, greeting guests, running games, supervising the grounds and event clean-up. Special Event Volunteers are critical in ensuring our special events run smoothly.

If you’d like your service group or college club to volunteer at the zoo, a special event is a great way to get involved!

Learn more about volunteering at a special event by emailing events@lszoo.org.

Guest Experience Volunteer

Guest Experience Volunteers help provide a great experience for our guests by assisting with tasks that support the cleanliness of the zoo.

Request a Guest Experience Volunteer application by emailing Dylan Kettner: dkettner@lszoo.org.

Education Volunteers

Education volunteers are the zoo’s frontline educators! Their main responsibility is to connect zoo visitors with our animals. This is done primarily by using educational props and artifacts to enhance visitor understanding of the animals by interpreting what they are observing. This position does not work directly with animals.

Education Volunteers are trained in spring every year. Request an application between January-April by emailing Sarah Wilcox: swilcox@lszoo.org.

Preschool Volunteers

Volunteer teacher aides help facilitate nature-based play in our licensed childcare center, Lake Superior Zoo School. Duties include assisting with outdoor exploration, engaging with children during daily hikes, reading to children, and helping with set-up and clean-up. Volunteers are supervised by teachers whenever children are present.

Request a Preschool Volunteer application by emailing Sarah Wilcox: swilcox@lszoo.org.

Are there opportunities for group service projects?

Yes, we greatly appreciate the support of service groups and clubs! Our highest need for group projects is in April, May, and September and in October for Boo at the Zoo. Group volunteers do not work directly with animals.

To learn more, contact Samantha Halligan at shalligan@lszoo.org.

Barnyard Attendants

We are not accepting volunteer barnyard attendants at this time.

Train Conductors

We are not accepting train conductor volunteers at this time.

Train Conductors guide visitors through the zoo’s many exhibits and introduce zoo guests to our furry and feathered friends! You must be at least 18 years of age with a valid driver’s license to apply for a Train Conductor volunteer position. You must also be willing to commit to the same 6-hour shift every week for 4 weeks.

Volunteer Benefits

  • Discounts on food and gift shop merchandise
  • Member rate for zoo programs
  • Free “Individual” membership every year with 36-71 hours of service
  • Free “Individual Plus One” membership every year with 72 hours of service
  • Behind-the-scenes tours and educational talks
  • Special recognition events
  • Bi-monthly newsletter with zoo updates
  • Free soft drinks during your shift
  • Helping the zoo further its mission!