How to Become a Volunteer at the St. Louis

Ways to Donate Your Time at St. Louis' Top Free Attraction

••• Guinea Pigs at the Children's Zoo. © David O'Brien, Licensed to About.com, Inc.

The St. Louis Zoo is one of the best in the country with millions of visitors each year. One of the reasons why is the stong network of volunteers who help guests make the most of their visits. You can join this special group of people by appying to be a volunteer today.

The St. Louis Zoo has several different volunteer opportunities available depending on the type of time commitment you want to make.

Docents require the most training and hours of service. Ambassadors are a more middle of the road option, while event volunteers help out for a shorter period of time.

Becoming a Docent - Docents are specialized volunteers in the Zoo's Education Department. They teach classes at the Zoo and in the community, and give tours to school children and other visitors. Docents must be 18 years old and go through an interview process to be accepted into the training program. The training consists of eight Saturdays of classes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Trainees learn about the animals and their care through classroom study, online learning and hands-on instruction from Zoo staff. Docents must also agree to volunteer at least 62 hours a week. Learn more about becoming a Zoo Docent.

Becoming an Ambassador - Ambassadors work at the Zoo answering visitor questions, giving directions and providing basic information.

They may also be asked to help with special events and crowd control. Ambassadors must be at least 15 years old and complete a two-day training program, followed by a few hours of individual training. Ambassadors must agree to volunteer for at least 30 hours a year. Learn more about becoming at Zoo Ambassador.

Becoming an Event/Location Volunteer - The Zoo also has a group of volunteers that work at specific events and Zoo locations. These volunteers help at the information booth, gift shops and first aid station. They also provide assistance at the fundraising events hosted by the Zoo Friends and Young Zoo Friends throughout the year. Event and location volunteers must be 15 years old and agree to work at least 30 hours a year. They go through a one or two day orientation program, plus on the job training. Learn more about becoming an Event/Location Volunteer.

Volunteers help make the St. Louis Zoo a more pleasant and affordable experience for visitors of all ages. For more detailed information or to schedule an appointment to become a volunteer, call Volunteer Services at (314) 781-0900, ext. 4670.