Teen Wild Guide Program

Group of Teen Wild Guides - Teen Volunteer Group Our popular Teen Wild Guide (TWG) program is an important part of our volunteer corps, consisting of young people interested in animals, conservation and children. They are motivated, friendly and have a lot of fun! Participants will be trained as interpreters in the Valley Children's Zoo, teaching visitors about animals and monitoring the contact yard. As teens develop within the program, they will have the opportunity to plan and participate in service learning projects, assist keepers and gain leadership experience.


Why become a Teen Wild Guide? There are many reasons to consider joining this exciting program, including:

  • To gain knowledge and zoo work experience, for those interested in a future career with animals.
  • To gain experience working with children.
  • To build community service hours.
  • To gain valuable public speaking skills.
  • To meet other teens with similar interests.
  • To do something new and fun!

In addition, Teen Wild Guides are all members of and affiliated with Roots & Shoots, an international organization founded by Dr. Jane Goodall to promote conservation leadership and action among young people. Each semester, teens will have the opportunity to earn their hours by participating in 2-3 teen designed Roots & Shoots activities. In the past, we have raised money for conservation organizations around the world, created teen-led zoo events such as the Asian Animal Festival and CaliforniaFest!, created pollinator habitats, participated in beach clean-ups, and assisted in sending thousands of pencils to students in Africa for environmental education.

Age Requirements and Responsibilities

Teens must be 13 years old or older to apply for the program. The program is designed on a step ladder system, so that teens gain additional opportunities the longer they are active as a TWG. Depending on how long they are in the program, teens may be able to work at stations in other areas of the Zoo, assist keepers, and be trained to handle small animals. The teens' core schedule consists of working in the Valley Children's Zoo at a variety of stations designed to get kids to learn about and experience our animals, including:

  • Working in the contact yard, monitoring the animals and teaching children about animal care.
  • Providing animal interpretive information for the public using a variety of biofacts and interactive stations.
  • Painting faces while teaching about animals including, bats, lemurs, and bugs.
Application Process

Teens interested in becoming a Teen Wild Guide need to submit a completed Teen Wild Guide Application and also submit 2 letters of recomendation. Information orientations are recommended so that you will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the program.

After we receive your completed application, participants will contacted for an interview. Once accepted, teens must attend 12 hours of required training. Training is essential to being a well prepared volunteer and we are unable to provide make-up trainings. Carefully review our current list of information orientations, application deadlines, and training dates to ensure that you will be able to attend before applying to be a Teen Wild Guide.

Contact Information

Please read over our Teen Wild Guide FAQs sheet. Still have questions? You can email or call the Teen Programs Manager at (510) 632-9525 ext. 201

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