College Internship Program
College Internship Program
The Dallas Zoo’s College Internship Program provides an interesting and rewarding learning opportunity for currently enrolled undergraduate or post-graduate students at an accredited college/university in the United States. Interns become actively involved in the Zoo’s animal care departments, conservation/research efforts and administrative positions.
Interns work20-40 hours per week for a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks during one of the sessions listed below. The purpose of the placements is to help the intern gain experience related to their education, and most are unpaid positions. The Dallas Zoo will work with students to document necessary time or projects needed to gain university credit for the internship. Unfortunately, we cannot provide transportation, housing, or a stipend.
Please contact the Volunteer Department for additional information or an application:
650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway
Dallas, TX 75203-3013
Internship Application Deadlines:
Summer Session (May-August): March 10
Fall Session (September-December): July 10
Winter/Spring Session (January-April): Nov. 10
Candidates are encouraged to apply early. Due to the high volume of applications received, you will be contacted only if you are considered for an interview. Late applications will not be considered. Successful completion of a background check is required.
Available Internship Opportunities
Dallas Zoo Animal Internships
(click to view descriptions)
Lacerte Family Children's Zoo Intern
Interns in the Children’s Zoo will learn assignments as both educators and animal care specialists. Interns will be responsible for working along with permanent staff in animal care, monitoring animal health, maintaining cleanliness of animal areas, providing enrichment, participating in operant conditioning programs using positive reinforcement, and preparing and presenting engaging public education presentations for children and families. Interns who would like to achieve college credit for their work are encouraged to undertake a special project in one of these areas. Interns will work in two of the areas of the Children Zoo: the Farmyard, Underzone, Discovery House, and Nature Exchange.
Australian-South American Intern
The interns will work on a rotation schedule throughout the Australian route and the South America route. The interns will learn the natural history of the animals in the area, all aspects of the daily animal husbandry – including training and enrichment opportunities, behavioral observations, animal introductions, and animal breeding. They will also assist with the daily keeper talks and demonstrations performed in the area and learn to interact with the public in an educational and professional manner.
Savanna Intern will work primarily in the Giraffe, Savanna Hoofed Stock and Donga Barns, assisting keepers with daily animal care, enrichment and observations. The intern will observe training sessions and assist the keepers with protected contact training as requested. The intern will assist with public feeding on the Giraffe Feed Platform between the hours of 10-2 daily, and will assist with Keeper Talks at the Donga on weekends.
Interns will complete the Keeper Training course, Enrichment 101, and Animal Training 101. They may also have the opportunity to spend one day in the Animal Nutrition Center, with the Research Department on a data collection day in the Savanna, and a half day with the Registrar.
Interns in the elephant area will participate in exhibit maintenance, educational keeper talks, and learn about husbandry. Interns also will assist with daily animal care and learn about our browse and enrichment program. The intern will have the opportunity to observe medical procedures performed by the elephant keepers. The intern will be able to observe operant conditioning training. Before the completion of the internship, the intern will be expected to complete a project relevant to the elephant program.
African Hoofstock Intern
African Hoofstock Intern will be trained to work on all 4 routes in the section, assisting the keepers with daily animal care, enrichment and animal observations. The intern will observe training sessions and assist the keepers with protected contact training as requested.
The intern will complete the Keeper Training course, Enrichment 101, and Animal Training 101. They may also have the opportunity to spend a half day in the Animal Nutrition Center, with the Research Department on a data collection day, and ½ day in another mammal section, and a half day with the Registrar.
Wilds of Africa Birds Intern
Interns will work all routes of section assisting keepers in all aspects of keeper job description in all weather conditions including preparing diets, cleaning and maintenance enclosures and exhibits, husbandry, medical procedures and enrichment. Educational benefit – obtaining experience working with approximately 75 species of African birds from many taxa and in all aspects of their husbandry and care.
Bird Department Intern - Zoo North
Interns will work all routes of section assisting keepers in all aspects of keeper job description in all weather conditions including preparing diets, cleaning and maintenance enclosures and exhibits, husbandry, medical procedures and enrichment. Educational benefit – obtaining experience working with many species of birds from many taxa and in all aspects of their husbandry and care. Interns will also receive experience working with the public in such areas as Bird’s Landing and Lorikeet Landing.
(click to view descriptions)
Aquarium Intern at Children's Aquarium at Fair Park
Two (2) applicants will be selected to work in animal husbandry at the aquarium, located off zoo grounds at Fair Park. They will work under the supervision of the Aquarists, Senior Aquarists and Aquarium Supervisor.
The aquarium husbandry interns must be responsible, hard-working, and ideally having a strong interest in aquatic/marine life. Under the supervision of staff the selected candidates will be involved in all facets of husbandry including the following areas: Water chemistry analysis, Feeding and care of animals, Diet preparation. Life support system maintenance and operation, Culture of live foods, Observation of animal behaviors, Administration of medical treatments, and Housekeeping and proper sanitation of equipment
There may also be opportunities to participate in the aquarium’s conservation programs; including aiding in the propagation of imperiled species at the aquarium and possibly surveys of animals in the field.
About the Aquarium The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park (formerly the Dallas Aquarium) is the 3rd oldest aquarium in North America and has been displaying aquatic and marine life for nearly 80 years. The aquarium holds 235,000 gallons of fresh and salt water and is home to over 5000 animals representing nearly 400 species. The animals kept include invertebrates, numerous bony fishes, sharks, rays, amphibians, reptiles, and sea turtles.
Dallas Zoo Operational Internships
(click to view descriptions)
Prepare daily diets for all zoo animals under the direction of supervising personnel. Assist with inventory and quality control of all perishable foods. Assist with cleanliness of food preparation area and dishes.
The Animal Nutrition Center is a centralized food preparation operation that provides for all dietary needs of the animal collection at the Dallas Zoo. The Animal Nutrition Center operates 7 days a week from 6:30 am to 3:30 pm. This Internship provides work experience within a comprehensive nutrition program and includes animal food production, as well as animal nutrition research components.
No direct animal contact takes place in this role.
Work alongside nutrition keepers to prepare and deliver balanced and enriching diets for the 1500+ animals living at Dallas Zoo and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park. Assist in nutrition research projects such as food nutrient analysis (sample processing, data collection and entry) and quality control (forages, feeds, browses, etc.). Track, organize and present data on animals in our collection to the Animal staff as part of a brown bag lecture series. Work in a team environment to accomplish area tasks.
Research and Conservation Intern
The goal of the Conservation/Research internship at the Dallas Zoo is to provide practical opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career in science to learn about animal behavior and appropriate research methods in a zoo setting. Interns have the opportunity to learn skills related to zoological research including study design, and behavioral data collection/analysis methods. Applicants must have completed at least one year of college biology to qualify.
Dallas Zoo’s Education Department is focused on providing high quality education programming for four key audiences: early childhood, youth, families, and educators. Our summer season is filled with summer camp programs for PreK-12th grade, youth volunteer programs, and overnight programs for families and other groups.
Working alongside education staff, interns in education will receive training and experience in effective instructional techniques for informal learning, program animal handling and presentation, conservation and science-oriented curriculum writing, outcomes-based program evaluation, business and marketing aspects of informal education, and customer service in a team-based professional environment. There are many different roles in the education department; in the beginning of the internship, interns will have the opportunity to choose specific staff to shadow based on personal interest. Interns will also be responsible for completing a demonstration project on one of the topics outlined above.
Behavioral Enrichment Intern
Intern will work in conjunction with the Enrichment Committee. There will be 3 main areas in which you will be working: behavioral observations, enrichment construction and implementation, and data entry and research. Interns will learn why AZA requires accredited institutions to have enrichment programs and what is involved in running such programs.
The intern will be given an over view of records and permits required for Zoological operations. Additionally, a project will be assigned for data collection, most likely from historic records, and organization into a spreadsheet format. Depending upon scope of the data retrieved, there is a potential for direct data entry into the animal record database. The project may be one designated of high immediate need for husbandry reasons at the time of the internship, or be of general husbandry importance to mine historic data for trends and information. Interests and background of the individual intern will be taken into consideration.
- Zoological Record keeping overview (beneficial for multiple career choices)
- Federal and State permit overview
- Introduction to basic animal husbandry data.
- Potential species specific components: Rearing/neonatal development progression
- Several historic events to be researched and entered to add to the collective knowledge base.
- Animal introductions
The Intern will assist the Zoo’s professional horticulture staff with managing the Zoo grounds and gardens. The horticulture team is dedicated to the daily operation and maintenance of the facilities garden displays which include a wide variety of native plants.
The intern will gain experience through participation in daily horticultural tasks which may include plant species identification, landscape design, planting, watering, weeding, pruning, mulching of beds including annual displays and perennial gardens, tree care, plant propagation, maintenance of browse gardens with the help of Zoo volunteers and the care and maintenance of equipment and tools used in performance of the job. The Intern will develop knowledge of toxic plants and those suitable for consumption by animals in the Zoo’s collection. Intern will work in a team environment to accomplish area tasks. Must be able to perform physical tasks and work actively in inclement weather.
Zoo Environmental Internship
The intern will assist the Zoo’s Environmental Manager with management of the Zoo’s Environmental Management System and compliance records. The intern will gain experience through participation in daily tasks which may include on-site maintenance activities, administrative duties to include management of documentation related to chemical inventory and Safety Data Sheet updates, storm water protection and spill prevention, waste management, and environmental training/presentation.
To qualify for this internship, you must demonstrate the ability to work as part of a team, display strong communication skills (verbal and written) and have proficient computer skills (Microsoft Office applications). Intern must be able to perform physical tasks and work actively in inclement weather.
Dallas Zoo Administrative Internships
(click to view descriptions)
The Volunteer Coordinator intern will work with staff implementing the Zoo’s volunteer programs, The intern will gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the needs required for managing and maintaining an efficient volunteer program. Duties will include assisting with the management of 1000+ volunteers. Intern will take part in volunteer recruitment, screening, orientation, training, motivation, retention and recognition.
Development / Event Planning
This is a great opportunity to work in the Development field as a fundraising professional. Be a part of the Dallas Zoo’s Annual Fundraising Event, Kid to Do. Learn the ins-and-outs of executing a successful fundraising event by assisting with event details and donor fulfillment activities.
A non-technical position. Involves detailed inventorying of IT equipment throughout zoo and recording of information in inventory database. The internship also involves gathering network infrastructure locality information and entry of information into database.
Dallas Zoo Group Sales & Catering Intern
Intern will work in all business aspects of the Group Sales & Catering Department from prospecting through the billing process.
Intern will work with other departments within the Zoo to ensure event requirements are met in a safe and efficient manner.
Intern will interact with different operational aspects of sales, catering, food service and park services by managing an event from set up through tear down.