Volunteer at the Zoo

Volunteers are an integral part of our zoo family! Do you want to spend more time at the zoo? Do you love educating people about the wonders of nature and the animals that live around us? Do you love the idea of volunteering for a good cause?

We have many options for volunteers with different interests at America’s 5th Zoo!

Join Today

ALL adult volunteers (18+) must submit and cover the cost of a background check. Details will be emailed to you following the receipt of your volunteer application (group volunteers excluded).

Jr. Docent Program

(13-17 years old)

• The Jr. Docent program is the Ross Park Zoo’s volunteer program for teenagers aged 13-17. Through this program, youth learn about the zoo animals, interact with and educate the public, facilitate activity stations, assist with the Zoo School program and even earn opportunities to help further develop larger projects at the zoo! The Jr. Docent program is most active during the summer, though they will have additional opportunities to volunteer throughout the year.
• Jr. Docents are required to participate in the Ross Park Ranger program, which serves as a training and evaluation program. As such, new Jr. Docents are only accepted in the winter & spring, up until a week before the Ross Park Ranger program. They must complete the Ross Park Ranger program and be accepted before they are able to volunteer as a Jr. Docent.
• The Jr. Docent summer program typically runs from July 15 to August 18. During this time, Jr. Docents are required to volunteer 1-2 days a week from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. A regular schedule will be developed based on each Jr. Docent’s availability. Certain exceptions can be made for when a youth is out of town, etc. Outside of those dates, Jr. Docents will have multiple opportunities to volunteer for special events, onsite activities, etc. throughout the rest of the year, mostly during the fall and spring.
• To apply as a Jr. Docent (either new or returning) a youth must first be registered for the Ross Park Ranger program. Click here to learn more.

Please note: Jr. Docents are required to send a letter of interest and two letters of recommendation from non-family members. A $20.00 registration fee needs to be paid at the start of the program which covers the cost of a t-shirt, education binder and name-tag.

Jr. Docents can apply online and send in the rest of their application materials via email or to the address below

Ross Park Zoo
c/o: Jr. Docent Program
185 Park Ave
Binghamton, NY 13903

Contact Jessica Gorman at 607-724-5461 ext. 300

Group Volunteers

(all ages, adult supervision required)

Is your organization looking for team building opportunities and a way to give back to the community? The Ross Park is a fun and unique place for your members to get their hands dirty for a good cause! Projects vary seasonally, but group volunteers are always appreciated during special events, and zoo clean up initiatives.

Interested groups should contact Jessica Gorman at 607-724-5461 ext. 300 and fill out a volunteer application here

All group members are required to fill out and sign a waiver form.

Support the mission of Ross Park Zoo!

Special Events Volunteers*

• The Ross Park Zoo hosts multiple special events each year such as: Ice Cream Safari, Feast with the Beasts, and Boo at the Zoo.
• Volunteers interested in helping with special events do everything from setting up behind the scenes to leading activities for zoo visitors including face painting!

Gardening Volunteers*

• The Ross Park Zoo’s grounds are kept beautiful and healthy largely due to the efforts of the volunteers who care for and improve our site’s gardens.
• Gardening volunteers water and weed the gardens, plant and mulch the beds and plan new ways to keep the zoo beautiful.

Maintenance Volunteers*

• Projects vary seasonally
• All skill levels are welcome and appreciated

*Volunteers involved in Special Events, Gardening and Maintenance under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian*

Volunteer in just one area or all of them, it is entirely up to you! Besides knowing that you are helping to support the Zoo and the local community by volunteering, here are some other benefits you get from volunteering at the zoo!

• 10% discount on Zoo merchandise
• Chances to go behind the scenes
• Free family membership after 100 hours of volunteering every year
• Opportunities to meet other community members
• More opportunities to visit the zoo!

To become a Ross Park Zoo volunteer, complete our volunteer application.

To learn more about our volunteer opportunities or how you can help the Zoo, call Jessica Gorman at (607) 724-5461 ext. 300