Detroit Zoo – Volunteer Opportunities

There are a number of volunteer opportunities at the Detroit Zoo. All of these positions will be described in further detail at Orientation Part 1.

Docent

Our most intensive training prepares these dedicated volunteers to be educators and interpreters at animal habitats throughout the Zoo. In addition, they provide tours and assist with a variety of educational programs both inside the Zoo and in the local community all year long. See Application Packet for full description (PDF).

  • Time commitment: 75 hours per year for a minimum of 2 years
  • Training: 14-week training course plus an online component and shadowing requirements, $60 course fee and $16 for uniform
  • Scheduling: Flexible, two-to-three-hour shifts
  • Availability: Year-round, 7 days per week

Australian Outback Adventure “Mob Squad”

Kangaroos and wallabies call the Australian Outback Adventure home. In this popular Detroit Zoo attraction, guests are able to walk through the habitat and get a closer view of the animals. Volunteers called the “Mob Squad” interact with visitors along the winding pathway inside the habitat. Volunteers are critical to this experience and the habitat cannot be opened without a team of volunteers. See Application Packet for full description (PDF).

  • Time commitment: 50 hours between April and October or 75 hours for calendar year
  • Training: one 3.5-hour training course plus online component; $10 course fee and $24 uniform
  • Scheduling: Flexible, two-to-three-hour shifts
  • Availability: Year-round or seasonal, 7 days per week

Gallery Guide

These volunteers are based in the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery and spend their time talking about butterflies. A special projection system called Science On a Sphere and art exhibits are housed in this building and volunteers also interact with guests in these areas. See Application Packet for full description (PDF).

  • Time commitment: 50 hours per calendar year
  • Training: one 3-hour training course plus an online component; $10 course fee and $16 uniform
  • Scheduling: Flexible, three-to-four-hour shifts
  • Availability: Year-round, 7 days per week

Special Events

Throughout the year, the Zoo offers fun and interesting themed events to encourage guests to visit. These events could not happen without the helping hands and smiling faces of Zoo volunteers. From temporary tattoos to craft assistants, story readers to wine pourers, costume wearers to registration helpers, each event has its wish list of specialized assistance. This is a terrific way to be involved with the Zoo without a big commitment of time. See Application Packet for full description (PDF).

  • Time commitment: 20 hours per calendar year
  • Training: on-the-job; $16 uniform
  • Scheduling: Flexible, events are day and evening, weekdays and weekends
  • Availability: Year-round, 7 days per week

Zoo Ambassador

This is the ultimate “people person” position. Spend half of a three-hour shift greeting guests as they enter the Zoo, helping them get oriented to the map, the facilities and any special events. The rest of the time is spent walking the Zoo looking for ways to help guests. See Application Packet for full description (PDF).

  • Time commitment: 50 hours between April and October
  • Training: one six-hour course plus online component; $10 course fee and $16 uniform
  • Scheduling: Flexible, three-to-four-hour shifts
  • Availability: Seasonal, April-October, 7 days per week

Arctic Ring of Life Guest Assistant

This is one of the most critical positions in the Zoo. While helping with crowd control in the busy Frederick and Barbara Erb Polar Passage, these volunteers enjoy quality time with the polar bear and seal residents of this award-winning habitat. See Application Packet for full description (PDF).

  • Time commitment: 50 hours between April and October
  • Training: one three-and-a-half-hour course plus online component; $10 course fee and $16 uniform
  • Scheduling: Flexible, three-hour shift
  • Availability: Seasonal, April-October, 7 days per week

Greeter

Greeters assist primarily in two locations: Ford Education Center Exhibit Hall and Science On a Sphere. Greeters provide a friendly invitation to guests to come in and view these exhibits/shows. Seasonal greeters are also needed at the National Amphibian Conservation Center. See Application Packet for full description (PDF).

  • Time commitment: 20 hours per calendar year
  • Training: one 1-hour training for Science On a Sphere and on-the-job training for Ford Education Center and seasonal greeters; $16 uniform
  • Scheduling: Flexible, two-to-three-hour shifts
  • Availability: Varies, 7 days per week

Staff Aide

Clerical skills, phone experience and weekday availability on a regular schedule would be assets to volunteers interested in offering their services in this program. Short-term as well as long-term projects may be available. See Application Packet for full description (PDF).

  • Time commitment: 20 hours per calendar year
  • Training: On-the-job; $16 uniform
  • Scheduling: Flexible, depends on the project
  • Availability: Varies, weekdays

Penguin Person

These volunteers assist with crowd control and answering questions about the four species of penguins that reside in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. See Application Packet for full description (PDF).

  • Time commitment:  50 hours per calendar year
  • Training: one three-hour training course plus an online component; $10 course fee and $16 uniform fee
  • Scheduling: Flexible, two-to-three-hour shifts
  • Availability: Year-round, seven days per week