An intern documents western lowland gorilla behavior in exhibit
Zoo interns monitoring giraffe behavior in exhibit
An intern helps guide a guest

Opportunities for Teens

The zoo offers specific internship, apprenticeship, and volunteer positions for high school students.

Learn More

Interns pose for a photo at Nature Boardwalk

Ongoing Internship Opportunities 

Animal Care

Animal Welfare

Full Time; six months beginning in May
Opening typically posted during February

This internship is designed for recent college graduates interested in pursuing a career in animal welfare science or animal behavior. Interns will work directly with the senior animal welfare scientist and other Animal Welfare Science Program staff to evaluate and enhance the welfare of animals at the zoo. The internship involves behavioral data collection, analysis, writing, and presentations.

Behavioral Husbandry & Enrichment

Full Time; six months beginning in May or November
Opening typically posted during February and August

This internship is designed for those interested in pursuing a career in animal training or animal behavior. Interns will work directly with the behavioral husbandry and enrichment manager and animal keepers to learn the principles of animal training, animal enrichment, and behavioral research though animal observations and hands-on enrichment activities.

Comparative Nutrition

Part Time; Summer
Opening typically posted during February

The comparative nutrition intern will receive practical training in the field of comparative animal nutrition, develop an understanding of zoo animal nutrition, and conduct an independent research project.

ZooMed Support

Full Time; one year
Opening typically posted during February

This position’s duties include providing administrative and research support to the departmental (veterinary, nutrition, pest control) operations and staff, especially the director of Veterinary Services, clinical veterinarians, and the veterinary resident. The primary focus of support includes medical record searches; library management; maintenance of residency course schedule and documentation, including interviews; and providing direct administrative support to staff veterinarians. This position does not involve direct animal care duties or routine veterinary job shadowing.

Conservation & Science

Health and Stress of Urban Wildlife

Full Time; Summer
Opening typically posted during February

This position’s duties include assisting with the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology’s research into the health and stress of urban wildlife. Specifically, this intern will work on amphibian, small mammal, and raccoon health and stress projects, including lab, camera, and fieldwork.

Nature Boardwalk

Full Time; Summer
Opening typically posted during February

The Nature Boardwalk intern will assist the Urban Wildlife Institute in monitoring wildlife and environmental changes at Nature Boardwalk, working closely with the coordinator of wildlife management to analyze data gathered from the various projects conducted over the summer. The intern will also engage with guests and seek to increase awareness and understanding of their activities and the significance of scientific monitoring for wildlife and wild places. Through meaningful guest interactions, the intern will gain experience communicating the role of environmental research and science.

Research, The Urban Wildlife Institute

Full time; six months with a potential performance-based extension for an additional six months
Opening typically posted during November

The Urban Wildlife Institute research intern will gain valuable hands-on experience by assisting with various field and on-ground research projects. Specifically, the intern will conduct field work related to a large, urban survey of medium- to large-sized mammals using motion-activated cameras, assist with monitoring bats across Chicago using acoustic detectors, monitor wildlife at Nature Boardwalk, enter data and assist with data organization, and maintain equipment.

Research, The Lester E Fisher Center

Part Time; 9–12 months beginning in January, May, or September with a potential performance-based extension for an additional six months
Opening typically posted during November

This internship with the Lester E Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes offers the opportunity to collect behavioral data on primate behavior and exhibit use. In most cases, some knowledge of behavioral data-collection techniques—either through other internships, field schools, job experience, or class work—is required. Best-suited applicants are students seeking to gain experience in a structured data-collection program or looking to expand on early experience by collecting data with gorillas, chimpanzees, or Japanese macaques.

Marketing & Communications

Audience Research and Evaluation

Part Time; April–September or October–March
Opening typically posted during March and September

The audience research and evaluation interns will assist in conducting evaluations and research related to guests, exhibits, and programs at Lincoln Park Zoo. This process, in large part, includes gathering guest feedback through surveys and questionnaires, understanding guest choices by observation and tracking, and gaining in-depth information by interviewing guests. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the interns will assist with conducting research and evaluation that will focus on potential new target audiences.

Graphic Design

Part Time; Seasonality Varies
Opening typically posted during February

Ideal candidates will be passionate designers with an interest in print design and a love of the zoo’s mission. This position provides the opportunities to participate in brainstorm sessions with the design and communications team; communicate and sell a creative vision; and gain collaboration experience working with project managers, designers, vendors, writers, and photographers. Candidates must submit a portfolio, or link to portfolio website, with their applications to be considered.

Development

Development Events

Part Time; Summer
Opening typically posted during February

The development events intern will be a part of the fast-paced office environment focusing on fundraising events. They will work with the Donor Relations team to execute and assist with the logistics of all donor cultivation events, such as the Annual Meeting, cocktail receptions, and board meetings, as well as helping with mailings, acknowledgements, and event wrap-up. This intern will also assist the Women’s Board Liaison and the rest of the Donor Relations team with the zoo’s largest fundraiser: Zoo Ball.

Women's Board

Part Time; Summer
Opening typically posted during February

The Women’s Board internship will provide experience working with a volunteer fundraising board for Lincoln Park Zoo. The intern will primarily assist with coordination of the annual Zoo Ball, the zoo’s largest fundraiser, which raises more than $1 million. This internship is an ideal opportunity for gaining experience in fundraising, development, and event planning.

Events

Events

Part Time; Summer
Opening typically posted during February

The events intern will provide support to the Events team in planning and preparation for Lincoln Park Zoo’s 40+ events each year. This position is responsible for determining and coordinating logistics; serving as liaison between zoo departments, as well as between zoo guests and event staff; delivering excellent guest service; and promoting zoo events. A college credit program is required.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I interact with the animals?
Most interns do not directly interact with animals. Internships that involve fieldwork, such as the Nature Boardwalk internship, have direct contact with wildlife found outside the zoo, such as turtles, snakes, amphibians, and black-crowned night herons. ZooMonitor and animal behavior and enrichment interns are involved with monitoring animal behavior, which sometimes allows them closer, but not direct, access to animals in their habitats.However, interns experience special opportunities to learn more about career paths associated with animal care, like behind-the-scenes tours and presentations from zoo professionals.
Is school credit available for internships?
Yes, we encourage students to seek school credit for their internship. All Lincoln Park Zoo internships are eligible for school credit; however, students must check with their school program to see if their internship would qualify at their school.  
I filled out an application for a volunteer position but have not heard anything. What should I do? 
All submitted applications are reviewed, but we only contact applicants who are being invited to interview. Due to the sheer volume of applications that we received, we cannot follow up with all applicants, and we ask that applicants do not follow up on their applications.
How long is zoo orientation?
Zoo orientation is a day-long program that all volunteers, interns, and staff members attend. It is typically held on Mondays, but a handful are offered on Saturdays during the spring.
Do I have to wear a uniform?
Most interns wear business casual clothing, but interns working in the field or alongside keeper staff will wear the zoo uniform, which is a green polo and khaki pants.
Is there a cost associated with interning?
There is a one-time $15 fee for all internships positions to cover the cost of ID cards, nametags, and a uniform (if required).
Do you provide parking?
All interns receive free parking in the zoo’s Cannon Drive parking lot throughout the course of their internship.