Volunteering at
zambezi river hippo camp

Read the Frequently Asked Questions below to learn more about volunteering at the Memphis Zoo and Zambezi River Hippo Camp.

How do I become a volunteer?

The first step to becoming a Memphis Zoo volunteer is to complete an online application.  When your application is complete, you will receive a confirmation email that contains the dates for upcoming Information Sessions.  Please RSVP to one of these events and attend.  This session will cover the basics of volunteering as well as  the current and upcoming opportunities.  During the Information Session we must collect the $50 Volunteer Membership Fee and conduct a background check. After the background check, you must attend an orientation and fill out all necessary paperwork.  After this, you will be an active member of our team of volunteers!

How long does the process take to become a volunteer?

The process takes a minimum of 2 weeks, but can often take much longer, up to 8 weeks. The length of the process is also contingent upon finding a suitable position for you.

What happens if I don’t pass a background check?

If anything questionable appears during the background check, our HR department will contact you directly to get more information. Having a conviction does not necessarily disqualify you from becoming a volunteer, however, should you not qualify, a portion of the volunteer membership fee will be returned to you.

How many hours do I have to commit to in order to volunteer?

Each position has a different time requirement and level of commitment. Please see the list of Volunteer Opportunities for more information.

Can volunteering at the Zoo lead to a paid position?

It is possible, but there are absolutely no guarantees that any volunteers will be offered a paid position. When a position becomes open, volunteers will be given equal consideration as other applicants.

Why do I have to complete 20 hours general need before moving on to my area of preference?

We use the 20 hours of general need volunteering to familiarize you with the zoo, to get to know you a little bit better, to provide a sense of advancement, to fulfill some of our basic tasks, and to give you the opportunity to make sure that the Zoo is a good match for you.

What does the Volunteer Membership Fee cover?

The fee helps to offset the cost of your background check, t-shirt, badge, materials, training and processing.

Can I upgrade my membership?

No. Although seemingly similar, Volunteer Memberships are not the same as regular Memberships to the Zoo, and cannot be changed or upgraded. They are issued to individuals only and are valid while you remain an active volunteer.

What days and times do I need to be available to volunteer?

Each position is different and has different time and day requirements. Please see the listings page for more information. The Zoo is open 7 days a week and we use volunteers 7 days a week. Most positions require morning or mid-day shifts.

I want to work at a Zoo or Veterinary clinic when I finish school. Can I interview a keeper or veterinarian?

Because our staff tends to be so busy, they do not generally set aside time for interviews. You can, however, feel free to email your questions to our general email, zooinfo@memphiszoo.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate people, who will be more than happy to answer your questions. You may also attend a keeper chat and ask questions then. The keeper chat times are posted on our Daily Schedule

I submitted an application several months ago, but never heard anything back. Is there a still a chance that I could volunteer?

Upon completion of the online application, the the next step is to attend a Volunteer Information Session. Please contact (901)333-6654 or email volunteer@memphiszoo.org for future dates.