Interns performing various jobs for the zoo

Internship Opportunities

The zoo offers a variety of internships year-round, the majority of which occur during the summer. These knowledge- and skill-based opportunities provide practical, real-world experience. Interns are exposed to different roles in various departments, from entry level to senior management, giving them a holistic view of zoo operations.

Unless otherwise stated, internships are open to current students or recent graduates. All Lincoln Park Zoo internships are paid with the exception of our Fisher Center internships.

Lincoln Park Zoo welcomes applications from people who identify as disabled. Please contact to request materials in an alternate format or any other accommodations throughout the process.

Download Internship Program Information Here

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 college students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in animal care or animal behavior. Interns will work directly with the zoo’s behavioral husbandry and enrichment manager, animal keepers, and the ZooMonitor program to learn the principles of providing enriching experiences and evaluating behavior in order to promote great welfare.

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.

Full Time; three to six months, with the option of extending, 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.

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 thåe 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 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.

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.

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.

Photography Intern
Part Time; September–November
Spring, Summer and Fall

Lincoln Park Zoo is hiring one photography intern to help support the in-house marketing and communications team to photograph on-grounds animals, people, buildings and events. We’re looking for photography students who have a strong command of photography as it relates to brand communications: applications on websites/email, on-grounds signage and print collateral

Video Production and Editor Intern
Part Time

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Video Intern supports the Video Producer by filming, producing, editing, and delivering high-quality, compelling videos to support the zoo’s mission, vision, brand, community engagement, and strategic goals. This role collaborates with a wide variety of colleagues across the Communication and Marketing department to shape external storytelling and provide video resources.


Donor Relations Internship
Part Time, Paid; May–mid-August
Opening typically posted during March or April

The donor relations internship will provide experience working in the Donor Relations team within the Development department at Lincoln Park Zoo. This is an ideal opportunity to gain experience focusing on fundraising events and donor cultivation events and working with our fundraising boards.


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.


Public Horticulture
Full Time, Paid; May–mid-August
Opening typically posted during February

The horticulture intern will assist with managing plant records, labeling garden plants, maintaining gardens, collecting animal browse, and designing gardens. This position works directly with the director of horticulture and manager of plant records to build a general knowledge of public horticulture, studying and learning plants that thrive in the Chicago area, as well as in a conservatory setting, and utilizing the resources provided by the zoo to further develop themselves professionally.

Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

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