Volunteers are an integral part of our zoo family! Do you want to spend more time at the zoo? Do you love educating people about the wonders of nature and the animals that live around us? Do you love the idea of volunteering for a good cause?

We have many options for volunteers with different interests at America’s 5th Zoo!

ALL adult volunteers (18+) must submit and cover the cost of a background check. Details will be emailed to you following the receipt of your volunteer application (group volunteers excluded).

Docents (18+)

There is a $20.00 materials fee for docents to cover the cost of a shirt, binder, and nametag. 

On-site Programs (April-November)

  • Guiding educational tours through the zoo
  • Artifact Tables- teaching the public about things like endangered species, birds of prey and domestic animals with the use of hands on experiences.
  • Enticing the public to join our “Eat a Bug” club (with REAL chocolate covered bugs)
  • Doing “spotlights” to teach about a specific species at the zoo

Off-Site Programs (year round)

  • Taking live animals from our education collection and bringing them on ZooMobiles to present at events such as: community events, private parties, schools and other organizations
  • Becoming an off-site volunteer requires extensive amounts of time and training in animal handling on-site prior to going off-site
  • Potential ZooMobile docents need to be available year round, especially in the busy summer months

Special Events Volunteers*

  • The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park hosts multiple special events each year such as: Ice Cream Safari, Feast with the Beasts, and Boo at the Zoo.
  • Volunteers interested in helping with special events do everything from setting up behind the scenes to leading activities for zoo visitors including face painting!

Gardening Volunteers*

  • The Binghamton Zoo’s grounds are kept beautiful and healthy largely due to the efforts of the volunteers who care for and improve our site’s gardens.
  • Gardening volunteers water and weed the gardens, plant and mulch the beds and plan new ways to keep the zoo beautiful.

Maintenance Volunteers*

  • Projects vary seasonally
  • All skill levels are welcome and appreciated

*Volunteers involved in Special Events, Gardening and Maintenance under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian*

Volunteer in just one area or all of them, it is entirely up to you! Besides knowing that you are helping to support the Zoo and the local community by volunteering, here are some other benefits you get from volunteering at the zoo!

  • 10% discount on Zoo merchandise
  • Chances to go behind the scenes
  • Free family membership after 100 hours of volunteering every year
  • Opportunities to meet other community members
  • More opportunities to visit the zoo!

To become a Binghamton Zoo volunteer, complete our volunteer application.
Apply Online
To learn more about our volunteer opportunities or how you can help the Zoo, call the Education Department at 1-607-724-5461 ext. 235 or email mgrippin@rossparkzoo.com

There are two sessions for volunteer orientation and training in September and March. Each of these sessions will be two days in length (both days are required for potential docents). Applications received after a training session will need to wait until the next session for training.

Jr. Docent Program

June-August (14-17 years old)

  • On-site education programs for teens interested in biology, conservation, animals, and educating the public
  • Application deadline is June 1st, trainings throughout June weekends.
  • Opportunities include:  Artifact Carts (teaching the public about subjects like endangered species, birds of prey, and domestic animals), Leading educational activities, and for more experienced Jr. Docents: doing “spotlights” with live animals to teach the public about a specific species

Please note:
Jr. Docents are required to send a letter of interest and two letters of recommendation from non-family members. A $20.00 registration fee needs to be paid at the start of the program which covers the cost of a t-shirt, education binder and name-tag.

Jr. Docents can apply online and send in the rest of their application materials via email or to the address below:

  • Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park
       c/o: Jr. Docent Program
       185 Park Ave
       Binghamton, NY 13903
  • Email at: mgrippin@rossparkzoo.com
  • Apply Online

Group Volunteers

(all ages, adult supervision required)

Is your organization looking for team building opportunities and a way to give back to the community? The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park is a fun and unique place for your members to get their hands dirty for a good cause! Projects vary seasonally, but group volunteers are always appreciated during special events, and zoo clean up initiatives.

Interested groups should contact Melissa Grippin at mgrippin@rossparkzoo.com

All group members are required to fill out and sign a waiver form.