Thank you for your interest in joining the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Zoo Guide Volunteer program.  As a volunteer, your role will be to talk with visitors to the National Zoo and introduce them to the animals, research and conservation work going on at the Zoo and around the world.  Through on-line and in-person training you will learn about the exhibits and how to share information with Zoo guests.

This is a year-round volunteer opportunity.  Weekday volunteers are being recruited.  Volunteers are asked to work at least three three-hour shifts each month Monday through Friday mornings. To be eligible, volunteers must be at least 18 years old, and should be comfortable spending at least two hours walking and talking to tour groups.  The application deadline is February 3rd.

If you've never volunteered before, please create an ID and password in the fields below. We recommend you use your email address as your ID, but create a unique new password for this site. If you have previously volunteered but have forgotten your ID and password, contact Suzanne Hough at to reset your password. 

Please note: These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. The Smithsonian Institution and FONZ are committed to providing the safest environment for our staff and volunteers, as well as for our guests. Select applicants will be interviewed, and those that are provisionally accepted must pass a Smithsonian background check which includes fingerprinting as a requirement for approval as a volunteer prior to beginning. 

Please fill this form out completely. Questions? Call at 202-633-3056 or email Lois Phoebus at

New User Details
Zoo Guide Volunteer Application

Basic Information
Home Address
Emergency Contact
Check the boxes to indicate "yes"

Background and Policies
Have you been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the past seven years, other than a minor traffic offense, which has not been pardoned or expunged from your record?
(Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor will not automatically disqualify you from employment)

For Zoo Guides, training takes place over eight days to be held on Thursdays and Fridays in February and early March. Some on-line training is also required.

Please provide two references, one personal (excluding family members) and one professional, who can speak on behalf of your work experience or interests.