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Junior Zookeeper

The Junior ZooKeeper program is the Great Plains Zoo’s summer involvement program for teens age 12-18. It provides teens who are interested in animals a chance to develop life skills and an opportunity to work with animals and kids in a fun and exciting environment!

To participate in the JZK program, participants must:

  • Be 12 to 18 years old on June 1, 2018
  • Be willing to volunteer consistently throughout the summer for at least 2 shifts per week
  • Attend orientation and any other required training
  • Provide evidence of a negative TB test
  • Provide their own lunch and transportation to and from the Zoo
  • Pay a program fee of $85 for members and $100 for non-members (tax included)
  •  Fee covers cost of materials, 2 uniform t-shirts, and educational opportunities
  •  Please do not send this fee with your application

The JZK applications are closed for the the 2018 season.


  • Returning JZKs should submit their applications by Friday, March 23.
  • Teens selected for an interview will recieve an invitation by Monday, April 16.
  • Interviews will be held throughout the day on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29.
  • Teen selected for the program will recieve notification of acceptance the week of May 7. 

Important Program Dates:

  • The program will kick off with a party on Wednesday, May 23.
    • Program fee, TB tests, and scheduling calendars must be turned in on this date.
  • Orientation is required for all JZKs.
    • Level 1 orientation will be from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Monday, June 4
    • Level 2 orientation will be from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5
  • The program begins on June 4 and ends on Aug. 12.
  • JZKs will be recognized for their hard work at an Achievement Ceremony on Aug. 14

Click here to download the JZK Information Packet.

  • 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