Malott Family Zoo Intern Program (ZIP)

Teen participants in Lincoln Park Zoo's 2013 Malott Family Zoo Intern Program

Learn and Share with the Malott Family Zoo Intern Program (ZIP)

The Malott Family Zoo Intern Program (ZIP) is an eight-week summer internship at the zoo for underserved Chicago high school students entering grades 10, 11 and 12 or freshman year in college. Each spring 14–16 students between the ages of 15–18 are given the opportunity to work as interpreters on zoo grounds, educating guests on animal science and conservation.

Malott Family Zoo Intern Program Details

Interns receive training from zoo staff and scientists and then serve as paid zoo interpreters.

During training, zoo interns learn effective informal-education techniques, public-speaking and customer-service skills, and information about animal science and conservation. They then use these skills to interact with guests at interpretation carts containing hands-on, animal-related materials.

Throughout their experience, ZIP interns interact with researchers and animal-care staff in behind-the-scenes tours and informal presentations. For many, these experiences provide a foundation for future environmental and community-building efforts.

Interns also take part in a variety of activities that enhance content knowledge, teambuilding skills and personal growth.

Applicants interested in the Malott Family Zoo Intern Program must be able to work outdoors in different weather conditions and stand for extended periods of time.

  • Applicants must be 15 years old by June 22, 2015. If hired, interns who are not yet 16 must obtain a student work permit. Please contact your school or the Illinois Department of Labor for more information.
  • Proof of identity and authorization to work in the U.S. will be required in accordance with federal law.

For more information on this zoo internship, contact us at 312-742-2056 or

The Malott Family Zoo Intern Program is made possible through the generous support of the Malott Family Foundation and the Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust.

How to Apply | Training | Compensation and Time Commitment | FAQs | Learn More

How to Apply

The application deadline for the summer 2015 teen programs has passed.

Questions? Learn more at Contact us at 312-742-2056 or


All selected interns will be required to attend training with the Education Department. During training, interns will:

  • Meet other interns and zoo staff
  • Take part in icebreakers and team-building activities
  • Become familiar with the zoo and how it functions
  • Participate in hands-on activities
  • Gain knowledge about many topics related to animals, conservation and research at Lincoln Park Zoo

Interns will also be expected to take part in ongoing, on-the-job training throughout the program.

Training for the 2015 season will occur June 22–26 and June 29–July 3.

Compensation and Time Commitment

Interns will be compensated on a bi-weekly basis at an hourly rate during internship.

Training for the 2015 season will occur June 22–26 and June 29–July 3.

Program will run June 22–August 15.

Dates are subject to minor change. Interns must be available for all training and work dates to be eligible for participation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  Download the Malott Family Zoo Intern Program FAQs

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Malott Family Zoo Interns share animal facts at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Zoo Summer Jobs 2013
Just in time to go back to school, zoo interns share their summer experiences, from trapping turtles to planning the perfect wedding.