Volunteers perform various tasks to support the zoo

Make an Impact.
Have Fun Doing It. 




Lincoln Park Zoo could not accomplish all we do without the dedicated support of volunteers. Zoo volunteers enhance the guest experience, assist in zoo operations, and help further the zoo’s mission through their service. Each volunteer’s unique skills, talents, and interests are matched to available opportunities —there’s something for everyone!

If you are looking for a recurring service opportunity with a great community of fellow volunteers, you’ve come to the right place!


Lincoln Park Zoo welcomes applications from people who identify as disabled, Deaf or chronically ill. Please contact volunteer@lpzoo.org to request materials in an alternate format or any other accommodations throughout the application process.

Please Note: Although you are surrounded by animals while volunteering at the zoo, our opportunities do not include animal husbandry. We do not accept individuals seeking court-ordered service hours and at this time we cannot accept international applicants.



400 +


34,000 +

hours completed by volunteers last year

$ 1 million+

in savings thanks to volunteer hours

“The zoo turns all people into their best.”

The volunteers at Lincoln Park Zoo are critical to the work that happens each and every day. As a part of the volunteer community, you’ll help us achieve our mission; do practical, helpful work; and build a community—one based in a shared passion for animals and connection.

Volunteer Opportunities


At the zoo, we are committed to teaching our guests every single day. As a learning volunteer, you’ll teach guests about the wildlife at the zoo and enrich their visit.  Positions Include:

  • Play assistants (closed)
  • Guest engagement volunteer (closed)


Guest Experiences

Our guests are second only to the animals. As a guest experience volunteer, you’ll help guests enjoy their zoo visit, be the voice of the animals, and tell their conservation story. Positions Include:

  • Zoo ambassador (closed)



The zoo is dedicated to being a beautiful and functional habitat for plants and animals. As a horticulture volunteer, you’ll make a positive, immediate, and restorative contribution to the zoo’s landscape. Positions Include:

  • Main zoo gardening (closed)
  • Nature Boardwalk gardening (closed)
  • Edible Garden volunteer (closed)


Volunteers monitoring animal behavior in exhibit

Animal Behavior Monitoring

To provide high-quality animal care, we monitor and measure the welfare of zoo animals. As a ZooMonitor volunteer, you will observe animal behavior and record data. Positions Include:

  • ZooMonitor volunteer (closed)


A western lowland gorilla infant in exhibit

Animal Enrichment

We are constantly improving zoo habitats and facilities to make the zoo a better place for animals and guests. As an animal enrichment volunteer, you will assist with construction projects to enrich the lives of animals throughout the zoo. Positions Include:

  • Animal enrichment volunteer (closed)


Help the Zoo Online

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute is seeking volunteers to help identify wildlife in photos taken by motion-activated field cameras. You can help by visiting chicagowildlifewatch.org and following the instructions on the website!


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Is there an age requirement? 

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old for ongoing regular volunteer roles. High school students are eligible for the camp teen volunteer position and some special event roles. You can learn more about the camp teen volunteer position here.

Do you provide parking? 

Volunteers can park for free during their shift in the lot on Cannon Drive. Lincoln Park Zoo is also accessible by CTA.

When should I apply to volunteer at Lincoln Park Zoo?

Applications open in January of each year. Please fill out our interest form to be notified when this happens.

What is your application process like?

The typical volunteer application process includes:

  • Submitting an online volunteer application
  •  If possible, attending a volunteer information session (held in late winter/early spring)
  • Receiving an informational email (if information sessions are unavailable)
  • Successfully completing an interview
  • Completing background check
  • Attending orientation
  • Attending training
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. If you haven’t heard from us within two weeks, please email volunteer@lpzoo.org to find out the status of your application.

Do I have to wear a uniform? 

In most cases, yes. The standard uniform includes a Lincoln Park Zoo polo shirt, khaki colored pants/shorts, and closed-toe shoes. This uniform is required for the following positions: guest engagement volunteer, zoo ambassador, and play assistant. Main zoo gardening, Nature Boardwalk gardening, and Farm-in-the-Zoo gardening volunteers are required to wear a Lincoln Park Zoo gardening shirt, pants, or shorts of their choosing, as well as closed-toe shoes. ZooMonitor volunteers and animal enrichment volunteers are not required to wear a uniform.

Do I still attend my shift in inclement weather? 

Lincoln Park Zoo is open 365 days a year and rarely closes due to adverse weather conditions. We ask that volunteers come in prepared for the weather that day; however, volunteer safety comes first, and there is no penalty for calling off due to weather-related concerns.

Is there a cost associated with volunteering? 

There is a one-time $20 fee for all volunteer positions to cover the cost of name tags and ID cards. The fee may be waived for those who meet certain requirements.

How long is zoo orientation?

Zoo orientation is a day-long program that all volunteers and staff members attend. It is typically held on Mondays, but a handful of sessions are offered on Saturdays during the spring.

Do volunteers receive discounts? 

Zoo volunteers receive discounts on food and non-alcoholic beverages at our restaurants, plus 20 percent off at our gift shops. Many zoo events have a discounted rate for volunteers. Additionally, free regular admission is offered to volunteers at many local museums and cultural attractions, and there are additional discounts at some local businesses.

Is volunteering accessible?

Yes, Lincoln Park Zoo provides variation and accommodation to benefit all volunteers. Please let us know how we can best support you in the physical, mental, and social aspects of volunteering. Email access@lpzoo.org with questions or to learn more about accessibility.

What if I cannot make the weekly time commitment?

We have special events throughout the year which require volunteers for a one-time commitment. Please email volunteer@lpzoo.org to be added to the special events volunteer recruitment list.


For more information, email volunteer@lpzoo.org.

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