Animal Care Volunteers


College, Adults


About the Program


Animal Care Volunteers work alongside a keeper, assisting with daily animal care, which includes cleaning of exhibits and night houses, chopping diets, raking, hosing, making enrichment items, and much more. Our volunteers in the animal care department are an integral part of the daily care of the animals. Thanks to the time and dedication given by our volunteers, the animals' lives are more enriched.



  1. Be age 18 or older
  2. Commit to regular attendance for four consecutive hours per week, either 8:00am – 12:00pm or 12:30pm – 4:30pm.
  3. Be able to commit to volunteering for at least six months.
  4. Maintain a negative TB test (valid within one year) and current tetanus vaccination (valid within ten years).
  5. Attend a Volunteer Information Meeting. (See Application Deadlines below)
  6. Complete an Animal Care Emergency Preparedness course, at least once every two years.
  7. Provide the one-time Animal Care Volunteer Program fee of $20, which includes a uniform t-shirt, Animal Care Volunteer Handbook
  8. Abide by the procedures and expectations outlines in the Oakland Zoo Volunteer Manual, as well as those set by the Department of Animal Care, Conservation, and Research.

Internship Timetable

If you are a student, due to the considerable differences between the end dates for semester and quarter-system schools, the start dates for the summer session will vary greatly depending on when your school year ends. Whether you start at the beginning or the end of that time frame, you will still get the same program experience.


Application Deadlines

Summer (May–September): March 15 (start date is flexible—anytime between May 15 and June 25)

Fall (September–December): July 15

Winter (January–April): November 11


Application Process

Download and complete the Oakland Zoo Intern Application.

Animal Care Volunteer Application


Submit your entire application packet or via email or mail to:

Oakland Zoo Volunteer Program

P.O. Box 5238

Oakland, CA 94605


After we receive an application, we will contact the applicant and sign them up for Volunteer Information Meeting where they will learn more about the Oakland Zoo and our volunteer programs and be interviewed. Candidates selected will receive an acceptance email. Once an applicant is accepted in the program, a $20.00 program fee is required as well as proof of a negative tuberculosis test within the last year and a tetanus shot within the last ten years. These items must be turned in before you start volunteering. Final acceptance is also dependent upon a background check. Those accepted will attend an Animal Care Volunteer orientation (held several weeks after the Volunteer Info Meeting), and are typically 30-60 minutes long. During the orientation new volunteers learn about volunteer policies and procedures, and be given time for a self-guided tour of the Zoo. We will also collect the $20 non-refundable volunteer fee and issue uniforms.



Please email us or call (510) 632-9525 x141 if you have more questions about our Animal Care Volunteer Program.


P.O. Box 5238

9777 Golf Links Road Oakland, CA 94605