Thank you for your interest in the Phoenix Zoo ZooTeens. Due to the Zoo’s closure in response to Coronavirus prevention, the ZooTeen program will be on hiatus for the 2020-2021 school year. If you’d like to be notified when the program is available, please send an email to and we will add you to our list.

We appreciate your passion for the natural world and the Zoo. Stay in touch on our social channels!

ZooTeens are a select group of teens, ages 14-17, who explore their interest of animals, nature and conservation through volunteer service at the Phoenix Zoo. ZooTeens share their interests with our Zoo guests at a variety of interpretive stations throughout the Zoo, provide mentoring and educational opportunities to Camp Zoo participants and are eligible to work with and learn from our world-class animal keepers.

What does a ZooTeen do? 

First year ZooTeens volunteer as either a Trail Teen or a Farm Teen. Trail Teens help enhance our guest experience through presenting games, artifacts and activities along our four themed trails (Arizona, Africa, Tropics, and Children’s Trail). Farm Teens work alongside our keepers to help with the daily husbandry of our farm collection.  Occasionally, ZooTeens may present small animals to Zoo guests to demonstrate caregiving or natural history concepts. Each year, ZooTeens are equipped with special training and exclusive education opportunities focusing on conservation. As ZooTeens progress through their years in the program, there are opportunities for further career exploration through staff interaction, hands on learning, and advanced ZooTeen positions.

Benefits of being a ZooTeen:

ZooTeens help us meet our mission of inspiring people to care for the natural world. ZooTeens and parents have shared that time spent volunteering in our program allowed them to gain a sense of responsibility, self-confidence, public speaking abilities and career preparation for working in education, science, or animal care. In addition to gaining valuable professional skills, ZooTeens receive the same Zoo benefits as our adult volunteer group.


Becoming a ZooTeen is a special commitment
to the Phoenix Zoo.

  • Applicants must be age 14 as of September 1 of the application year. We accept applications from students ages 14 – 17.
  • Applicants that are unable to meet a minimum of 40 hours as a Trail Teen or 64 hours as a Farm Teen within an eight month period are discouraged from applying.
  • Applicants are required to undergo yearly TB testing and attend all required orientations and meetings to retain their ZooTeen status.
  • Applicants should demonstrate an interest in animals, nature, or conservation and be comfortable working outside for 4 – 5 hours.

Application Process

Teens must complete the online ZooTeen application to be considered.

We receive hundreds of applications with only a limited amount of ZooTeen openings.

A minimum of two online recommendation forms are required as part of the application process.  We suggest that recommendations be completed by teachers, school staff or community leaders. We will not accept recommendation forms from family members.

 All application materials must be received by May 31. Completed applications and recommendations will be reviewed by the Volunteer Management Team at the Phoenix Zoo.

Applications are accepted during the months of March, April and May (any application or recommendation form received outside of this time period is not eligible for consideration). During the month of June, all applications are reviewed. A limited number of candidates will be selected for a brief in-person interview. Interviews are conducted in the month of July. Interviewed ZooTeen candidates will be notified by the beginning of August and only those selected will be invited to attend program orientation.

The ZooTeen program is an eight-month program that officially operates from September through May. Limited positions are available for established ZooTeens each summer. Prospective ZooTeen applications are accepted during the months of March, April and May. 

  •  September – Start of ZooTeen season and Fall Semester
  •  December – Fall Semester ends
  •  January – Spring Semester begins
  •  March – New applications now accepted
  •  May – New application period ends/ end of Spring Semester
  •  July – Interviews by invitation only
  •  August – Orientation for new and returning ZooTeens