Volunteering

Our zoo relies on volunteers to help us carry out our mission:

Inspiring connections to wildlife and action toward conservation in our region and around the world.

Whether in education, barnyard, special events or horticulture, volunteers make an impact every day. If you’re looking for a rewarding service opportunity, you have come to the right place!

In 2018, 582 people volunteered at the zoo — a total of 4,156 hours, valued at over $114,000!


Volunteer Opportunities

How do I become a volunteer?

  1. Read through the positions below to determine what interests you most.
  2. Complete a Volunteer Application for one of the positions listed below. Paper applications should be emailed or mailed to Melanie Michaels, Volunteer Manager, mmichaels@lszoo.org, Lake Superior Zoo, 7210 Fremont Street, Duluth, MN 55807. Applications for the 2020 season will be available in October 2019.
  3. The Volunteer Manager will contact you to schedule an information and interview session where you’ll receive a better understanding of the program and position(s) you are interested in.
  4. Upon clearance of a background check, you will be invited to participate in orientation and training sessions for the positions you are interested in.
  5. During orientation/training, you will learn about the zoo and receive training on customer service, safety and general policies. You will also be trained in your specific position and learn how to access the online volunteer schedule.
  6. You will receive your name tag, purchase a volunteer shirt, and be officially welcomed as a Lake Superior Zoo Volunteer!

Orientation Dates:

  • March 2020

Training Dates:

  • Education Volunteers – May 2020
  • Barnyard Volunteers – May 2020
  • Horticulture Volunteers – May 2020

Barnyard Attendants

Our Barnyard relies on volunteers to keep it open to zoo visitors! Barnyard Attendants allow visitors to enter and exit the Barnyard, as well as supervise the visitors while they interact with the zoo’s barnyard animals. Light cleaning duties, as well as animal grooming, may be a component of this position, as well as the ability to interact positively with zoo visitors and zoo barn animals.

Check back in October 2019 for applications for the 2020 summer season.

Education Volunteers

Interpretive Volunteers are the zoo’s frontline educators! Their main responsibility is to connect zoo visitors with our animals. This is done primarily by using educational props and artifacts to enhance visitor understanding of the animals by “interpreting” what they are observing. After 30 hours of volunteering as an Interpreter, you will have the chance to apply to be a Docent. Docents are trained volunteer educators that work directly with our education animals and assist zoo staff with education programs such as outreaches, tours, birthday parties, and classes.

Check back in October 2019 for applications for the 2020 summer season.

Horticulture Volunteers

Horticulture Volunteers are vital to keeping the zoo grounds looking colorful all year long! They work with the zoo grounds crew to create and maintain gardens on the grounds, work with the greenhouse, assist with indoor plant upkeep, and help with seasonal outdoor preparations (spring set up and winterizing).

Check back in October 2019 for applications for the 2020 summer season.

Special Event Volunteers

Special Event Volunteers do a variety of jobs at our zoo events including set-up, zoo decoration, greeting guests, running games, supervising the grounds and event clean-up. Special Event Volunteers are critical in ensuring our special events run smoothly. If you’d like your service group or college club to volunteer at the zoo, a special event is a great way to get involved! Email Melanie for more information.

Train Conductors

Train Conductors guide visitors through the zoo’s many exhibits and introduce zoo guests to our furry and feathered friends! You must be at least 18 years of age with a valid driver’s license to apply for a Train Conductor volunteer position. You must also be willing to commit to the same 6-hour shift every week for 4 weeks. Email Melanie for more information.

Gemstone Discovery Volunteer

Gemstone Discovery volunteers assist zoo visitors at our gemstone sluice by answering visitor questions about the experience and helping young visitors identify their finds. You must be at least 18 years old to apply. This volunteer opportunity is only on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Email Melanie for more information.


Are there opportunities for group service projects?

Yes, we greatly appreciate the support of service groups and other clubs! Our highest need for group projects is in April, May, and September and in October for Boo at the Zoo. If you are interested in arranging for a group service project at the zoo, please contact Melanie Michaels via email or at (218) 730-4500 ext. 210. Group volunteers do not work directly with animals.

Volunteer Benefits


  • Discounts on food and gift shop merchandise
  • Member rate for zoo programs
  • Free “Individual” membership every year with 36-71 hours of service
  • Free “Individual Plus One” membership every year with 72 hours of service
  • Behind-the-scenes tours and educational talks
  • Special recognition events
  • Bi-monthly newsletter with zoo updates
  • Free soft drinks during your shift
  • Helping the zoo further its mission!