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Animal Care Intern

The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum is offering an opportunity for education and experience for tomorrow’s workforce. The Zoo has internship opportunities available to those interested in pursuing a career in Animal Care and Zoo Management. The intern program is designed to help applicants determine if a career with animals is right for you. It also offers valuable experience to those who are planning to apply to vet school or looking to pursue a job in the animal care field. You will learn, hands on, all the husbandry techniques that it takes to care for the animals at the zoo. You will be given the opportunity to gain valuable skills, on-the-job training and experience that will be a great asset to you in the future as you continue to pursue your career. Some of the areas interns will get instruction include but are not limited to: cleaning, feeding, making diets, basic maintenance of areas, safety, and record keeping as well as the basics of Operant Conditioning Animal Training, and enrichment. Interns will have the opportunity to do an enrichment based project to increase their knowledge of one of the species that they work. Interns will also attend several classes during the program to further increase their knowledge about all aspects of zoo keeping and animal care.

Please note: All internships are unpaid and housing is the responsibility of the individual.

Requirements

  • Must be 18 or older.
  • Requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.  Prefer candidates that are pursuing a degree in a zoological related field. 
  • Must commit to volunteering at least 20-40 hours per week. This includes working at least 1-2 full days. Your schedule will depend on your own availability and must be consistent for the duration of the internship.
  • Must complete 400 hours of service over a 10-20 week period. The duration of the program will vary depending on the number of hours per week that you volunteer.
  • All interns should have a basic interest in animals, an ability to get along with others, and a professional/neat demeanor.
  • Interns must take directions well and pay careful attention to procedures and established protocols.
  • They should follow instructions and carry out their responsibilities in a safe and careful manner in order to avoid injury to themselves, to employees, to visitors, and to the animals.
  • They must be physically able to perform cleaning, feeding, and general husbandry tasks for animals in various weather conditions.
  • Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds regularly.
  • Weekend, evening, and holiday work may be required.
  • Interns are required to work as a team and with minimal supervision.
  • Participants must be able to adjust to changes in the daily routines.
  • Must also maintain a valid driver’s license.

Internship Timetable

We are currently accepting applications to begin the summer internship at the end of May.  Start dates may be flexible depending on your availability. 

Please fill out the form below or download our Employment Application and email the completed form here.







Proof of U.S. Citizenship or immigration status will be required upon employment. Criminal convictions are not an absolute bar to employment, but will only be considered in relation to specific job requirements.

  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor FSioux Falls
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N
  • A really great zoo featuring some exotic species and I liked the focus on conservancy/breeding to preserve species for the rhinos. The safari area's cheetah was awesome to see. During a week day going, it was quite open to walk around and enjoy without too much crowding.

    Joseph H
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world. ¬†The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones. ¬†Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T
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