Internships

Are you a current college student with at least one year of coursework completed? A zoo internship may just be the adventure you're looking for!

Please read all the information on this page before starting your application.

Idaho Falls Zoo offers two internship pathways: Zoo Education & Interpretive Programs and Animal Care. Please consider your personal experience, interests and career goals when deciding if Idaho Falls Zoo’s internship program fits your needs and availability. Zoo interns are expected to reliable, consistent and dependable.

*Attention BYU-I students: Animal Care internships for BYU-I students are coordinated through your university's Biology and Animal Science departments. Please reach out to your professors for Animal Care internship information.


Internships are unpaid. Transportation and housing arrangements are the sole responsibility of the intern. Interns are required to purchase at least 1 uniform shirt to wear during their internship. The cost per shirt is $15.00. All interns must provide proof of an unexpired tetanus immunization. Animal Care interns must also provide proof of a negative tuberculosis screening. Any cost to meet these requirements is the sole responsibility of the intern. 

2024 internship sessions run as follows:

  • WINTER: January 8th – March 30th
  • SUMMER: April 29th – August 3rd
  • FALL: September 16th – December 14nd

Application Process: 

  1. Carefully read the internship descriptions below
  2. Complete and submit the online application at the bottom of this page
  3. The zoo will send you an email within 14 days of receiving your application. Check your email’s junk folder if you have not received our message after 14 days.
  4. Attend an interview with zoo staff. Both in-person and virtual options are available.
  5. The zoo will send you an email within 7 days of your interview, informing you whether or not you have been selected for the internship program. Check your email’s junk folder if you have not received our message after 7 days.
  6. If selected, submit and pass a City of Idaho Falls background check. Details will be provided after a successful interview.
  7. If selected, provide proof of current tetanus vaccination. Animal Care interns must also submit proof of a negative tuberculosis screening.

We recognize and appreciate the time and effort it takes to go through this application process. Please direct any questions that cannot be answered by your academic institution’s internship coordinator to Kathryn, in the zoo’s volunteer department [email protected]  208-612-8453.

Internship Descriptions

The following is a general description, and does not contain an exhaustive list of possible scenarios:

Zoo Education & Interpretive Programs

GENERAL PURPOSE: To help prepare individuals for careers in conservation, environmental, interpretive, natural science or other field of education by providing practical, hands-on experience interning at an AZA accredited facility. Under the mentorship of zoo education staff, Zoo Education & Interpretive Program interns assist in a variety of informal education initiatives. Some assignments may include working with Idaho Falls Zoo’s (IFZ) ambassador animals (after completing training) in programs both on, and off, zoo grounds.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS: Zoo Education & Interpretive Program interns support IFZ staff in preparing and presenting education programs which may include: 

  • Communicating accurate information in an interpretive, empathetic manner
  • Presenting ZooMobile programs at local school and community venues 
  • Interacting with guests at Exploration Stations around the zoo 
  • Assisting education staff during camps and classes 
  • Providing educational programming at zoo events
  • Supporting fieldtrip groups 
  • Sharing Idaho Falls Zoo’s conservation initiatives 
  • Pitching in to keep the zoo clean and inviting

This internship pathway is dynamic and fast-paced. At times, it can be physically and mentally challenging. It can be dirty, unglamorous and prone to changes in plan. However, the opportunities provided for Zoo Education & Interpretive Program interns are unique and personally rewarding. Considering this, ideal Education & Interpretive Program candidates:

  • Have great people skills 
  • Enjoy working with people of all ages (especially children) 
  • Work well both independently and as a team member  
  • Are energetic, positive and creative 
  • Are passionate about wildlife and conservation
  • Are dedicated to Idaho Falls Zoo’s high guest-service and animal welfare standards

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: 

1.    Education and Experience:

A. Graduation from high school or equivalent; AND 

B. Currently enrolled in a university/college program related to education, biology, wildlife management, zoology, or conservation 

OR 

C. Graduation from such a program within the last 12 months 

2.    Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Experience working with the general public, especially children 
  • Detail oriented and organized
  • Able to follow precise written and verbal directions 
  • Dependable and punctual
  • Exhibit a strong work ethic 
  • Prepared to work outdoors in all weather conditions

3.    Special Qualifications:           

  • Must be able to lift 30 pounds
  • Must commit to a work schedule which may include some weekends and holidays
  • Must be at least 18 years old with a valid driver’s license
  • Must provide proof of current tetanus vaccination 
  • Must pass a background check prior to internship start date

PREFFERRED ATTRIBUTES: 

  • General knowledge of informal education practices 
  • Familiarity with basic biology and ecology principles 
  • Previous animal handling experience 

WORK ENVIRONMENT: Intern duties involve a variety of physical and cognitive tasks. Physical requirements include walking, standing, stooping, sitting, reaching, lifting, etc. Interns may be exposed to severe weather, and are expected to continue regular duties in every weather condition. Interns may encounter environmental hazards and/or dangers inherent to unpaved surfaces, and working in close approximation to animals or equipment. On occasion, interns are asked perform tasks independent of direct supervision from zoo staff.

Animal Care

GENERAL PURPOSE: To help prepare individuals for careers incorporating animal care by providing practical, hands-on experience volunteering at an AZA accredited zoo. Such careers include animal keeper, wildlife management and conservation science, among many others.

Internships are unpaid; travel and housing expenses are the responsibility of the intern.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS: Animal Care interns work alongside professional animal keepers to assist in a variety of tasks related to animal husbandry and visitor education. Specific duties include, but are not limited to, animal observation, diet preparation and delivery, exhibit cleaning and maintenance, constructing and placing enrichment activities, and interacting with the public on a regular basis. Interns may have opportunity to observe veterinary procedures, animal training, and learn/practice animal handling techniques. Interns may work with a wide variety of taxa, including amphibians, reptiles, birds (passerines, penguins, raptors, etc.), small and large carnivores, hoof stock and/or primates. Specific areas of focus depend on current needs of the zoo.

Zoo internships can be physically and mentally challenging. They are often dirty, smelly and unglamorous. For those with a passion for animal work, they can also be very rewarding. All interns must: 

  • Be dependable
  • Possess a strong work ethic
  • Be prepared to work outdoors in all weather conditions

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:

1.    Education and Experience:

A.  Graduation from high school or equivalent; AND 

B. Currently enrolled in a university/college program related to biology, psychology, zoology, wildlife management, or conservation biology or have graduated within the last 12 months; previous animal care experience is not required, but is a plus; OR 

C. An equivalent combination of education and experience

2.    Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Must be detail oriented, and able to follow precise written and verbal instructions. Interns must be able to speak clearly, and possess both the auditory and visual acuity (with or without supplemental aids) required to perform assigned duties. Must commit to a work schedule, which may include weekends and holidays.

3.    Special Qualifications:          

General knowledge of animal husbandry preferred. Practical animal husbandry experience is a plus. Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds. Must have a negative TB test within the last 2 years, and a current tetanus vaccination prior to starting the internship. Candidates must pass a City of Idaho Falls background check prior to internship. A background check form will be provided to applicants upon successfully interviewing with zoo staff.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: Intern tasks are often physically demanding. Such activities may include walking, standing, stooping, sitting, reaching, lifting, etc. Interns will, at times, be exposed to inclement weather, environmental hazards and proximity to potentially dangerous animals and equipment. Mental application utilizes memory for details, emotional stability and discriminating thinking and creative problem solving.

Apply for an Idaho Falls Zoo internship

apply here