Junior Zookeeper Program

If you love animals and want to learn more about how a Zoo operates, then the Great Plains Zoo’s Junior Zookeeper program is for you! 

As a Junior Zookeeper, you will have the opportunity to work with children, share your love of animals, care for the animals in the Hy-Vee Face-to-Face Farm, and work alongside professional Zookeepers. 

The Junior Zookeeper program is open to young people ages 12-18. Each spring, the Zoo accepts applications and interviews candidates for the volunteer-based summer program. During your Junior Zookeeper experience, you will learn important job skills, practice public speaking, and develop a strong work ethic.

The deadline for the 2015 Junior ZooKeeper program was April 3, and we have already selected our participants for this summer.  If you are interested in the 2016 program, please send your contact information to education@gpzoo.org and we will notify you when the application is available for next summer.

To participate in the JZK program, participants must:

  • Be 12 to 18 years old by the start of the program.
  • Be willing to volunteer consistently throughout the summer for at least 2 shifts per week.
  • Attend orientation and any other required training.
  • Provide their own lunch and transportation to and from the Zoo.
  • Pay a program fee of $85 for members and $100 for non-members.


Junior Zookeeper Program Levels

Level 1 - (Teens Ages 12 and 13) Junior Zookeepers will assist with ZooCamp, and present animal artifacts called “biofacts” to Zoo guests.

Level 2 - (Teens Ages 14 to 18) Junior Zookeepers will care for the animals in the Hy-Vee Face-to-Face Farm, present daily Creature Features to visitors, and help with ZooCamp.

Both levels require a minimum commitment of two 4-hour shifts each week, a negative TB test, and attendance at orientation in May. Level 2 JZKs are also required to volunteer for at least one summer special event at the Zoo.

Please note: Levels are based on participant age. No exceptions will be made.

For more information, call 605.367.8313, ext. 233, or email us at education@gpzoo.org.