Educator at the Zoo
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John Ball Zoo

Educator at the Zoo

You’ll serve as an ambassador, or educator, to guests exploring the zoo. Interact with guests to make them feel welcome, share interesting information about the animals, and help them engage with animals in interactive exhibits, like the hobby farm or the wallaby exhibit. Think of it as a “choose your own adventure” for the zoo!

This is one of ServeGR’s most flexible volunteer roles. You will use an online volunteer management system that allows you to choose your own shifts based on your schedule and pick what particular roles you would like to take on. Maybe you want an hour at the Hobby Farm and then want to greet guests near the bears and then spend time with the wallabies. If you’d prefer to be less physically mobile, you can choose specific roles like handing out maps or welcoming guests. When you sign up for shifts, you’ll get to decide.

If you log enough hours and choose to do additional training, you can use animals from the education collection for presentations both at the zoo and at off-site events.

Show me how to get started
very flexible; 20-40 hours anytime between March - November during open zoo hours
18+; ability to communicate with visitors; pass a criminal and background check; have a current TB test
John Ball Zoo
1300 W Fulton St
Grand Rapids, MI 49504 1300 W Fulton St
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Is This the Right Fit for Me?

You love animals, being outside, and talking with people. You enjoy interacting with people of all ages, especially when helping them learn or experience something new! You’ve got a knack for engaging people and your sense of enthusiasm for learning about animals is contagious.

About John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo inspires people to be active participants in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment. Located in Grand Rapids’ West Side, the zoo is committed to the advancement of public education on the need for wildlife conservation and preservation. From March through November, the zoo is open every day and is home to 1,300 animals in 245 species.

  • JBZoo_man with snake
  • JBZoo_woman with goats
  • JBZoo education volunteer

What Others are Saying

“My love for animals took me to John Ball Zoo. The animals give back with unconditional love. When I’m there, I work with young people who bring laughter and life back to me, and I have a purpose while caring for the animals and seeing others enjoy them. You’re never at an age where you can’t learn something new, so I like growing with new information there. If you love animals and want to teach people to respect them, then volunteer as a zoo ambassador to learn and laugh and have fun while helping.”


Contact the Organization

If you’re ready to ask some questions and get started, contact the John Ball Zoo directly.

Jen Conley Volunteer Manager 616-336-4317

What to Expect

Fill out an online application, then Jen will send you an confirmation email. She’ll let you know about upcoming orientation dates for all zoo volunteers, and then there will be an education-specific training held a few weeks after that. Nearly all orientations are held on Saturdays and last about 2.5 hours. Then you’ll schedule yourself for shifts based on the particular roles and times that work for you using an online volunteer management system.