Job Openings - Blank Park Zoo

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Thank you for your interest in working for the Blank Park Zoo.

The Blank Park Zoo is a respected leader in animal care, education, and conservation of exotic wildlife. The zoo is the only AZA accredited zoo in the state of Iowa.
Applications will only be accepted for available positions. Please make note on application which position you are applying.

The Blank Park Zoo is an equal opportunity employer.
Click here for Internship Opportunities.
Click here for Full-Time Opportunities.
Click here for Seasonal Opportunities.

Full-Time Openings:

Grounds Technician II
The Blank Park Zoo looking to hire a permanent, full-time Grounds Technician II to accomplish all aspects of zoo grounds, outdoor and indoor horticulture, equipment maintenance, and snow removal.


  • Follows all protocols to maintain safe working conditions for staff, visitors and animals.
  • Under supervision, completes tasks related to all aspects of grounds maintenance: grass mowing, weed-eating, leaf raking, trimming, pruning, tree removal, turf maintenance, etc.
  • Provides general labor as required.
  • Supervises: seasonal staff and volunteers.
  • Participates in snow removal on zoo grounds/on-call as needed
  • Assist any emergency situation as needed (guest or staff illness, weather, etc.)
  • Assists with design and development of landscapes in and outside of animal exhibits, plant care protocols, plant collection plan
  • Assists with the implementation of all aspects of zoo grounds: landscape maintenance, floriculture, plant selection and trimming, indoor conservatory management including integrated pest management, maintenance of facilities, etc.
  • Supervises: seasonal staff and volunteers.

Completion of two years of college/Trade school with major course work in grounds maintenance, horticulture or related field and one year of experience in grounds maintenance or related area OR any combination in which education and experience are interchangeable at the rate of one year of education for one year of experience.


  • Previous work experience in horticulture field preferred.
  • Ability to handle a flexible workload with a variety of assignments.
  • Must be able to operate independently, exercise initiative, and demonstrate capacity for detail and follow-up.
  • Must be able to maintain work hours that will serve the needs of the Foundation
  • Must be a positive, effective team member and be able to establish professional working relationships.
  • Must be able to work weekends and holidays, have a valid Iowa’s driver’s license, and work in all weather conditions.
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs and perform all physical tasks related to horticulture, maintenance, and snow removal.


To Apply:
Please send a cover letter and resume to: or mail: Blank Park Zoo, Human Resources, 7401 SW 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50315



Donor & Membership Relationship Manager
Primary responsibilities are to manage all member/donor activities of Blank Park Zoo, including but not limited to cultivation and solicitation of membership/fundraising, prospect generation, outreach/presentations and event organizing.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

The essential functions include, but are not limited to the following:

Community Presence Development
Under the direction of the Development Director, coordinate community presence activities/events.

  • Coordinate the implementation of membership tables at all zoo sponsored events. For example but not limited to, Night Eyes, Zoo Brew, Conservation Series, Eggstravganza, Membership exclusive events
  • Host zoo/membership tables/community presence activities /promotions 
  • Act as liaison/spokesperson and coordinate tours and events/activities
  • Serve as liaison with Convention and Visitors Bureau for Hotel Sales to generate/cultivate leads for group sales/Zoo partnerships

Outreach/Fundraising/Constituent Relationship Management

  • Coordinate portfolio of donors and prospects $250 - $999 and assigned businesses/corporations/grants. 
  • Conduct prospect research  of existing and potential members/donors  
  • Conduct daily/weekly outreach  - cold calling/prospect research and cultivation/development activities
  • Implement strategy designed to accomplish yearly budgetary and strategic goals.
  • Prepare and oversee annual membership plan and budget
  • Coordinate membership/donor benefits and promotions to both current and lapsed members, evaluate based on memberships sold and member feedback.
  • Maintain relationship with membership partners: Living History Farms and Science Center of Iowa. 
  • Work closely with Database Coordinator and PT Coordinator to ensure accurate record keeping and monthly reporting of trends/data/demographics of membership information. 
  • Coordinate the implementation of donor recognition 
  • Plan, implement and evaluate the annual donor giving programs
  • Coordinate mailings and mailing lists, including annual fund appeals and event invitations
  • Provide assistance for annual fund and capital campaign grant requests, including writing, preparation, submission and tracking of proposals
  • Maintain development marketing materials and donor recognition lists
  • Prepare donor communications, requests for information and other correspondence
  • Prepare acknowledgment letters and pledge reminders
  • Maintain both electronic and hard-copy donor files

Other Responsibilities

  • Evaluate member and donor efforts and programs
  • Participate as member of Development Department aiding with all Zoo Development Activities
  • Complete other duties as assigned

Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities):

Bachelor Degree in business related field preferred

Work Experience
A minimum of two (2) years of administrative or other related experience required


  • Experience including phone and sales outreach, prospect/cold calling and strong presentation skills. Business development or outside sales an asset
  • Exceptional writing, time management, planning, detail oriented, with strong organizational skills
  • A professional and superior member/donor focused service approach
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work with diverse constituencies. Strong listening, problem solving skills and good decisions making
  • Ability to work independently and as team player and manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Creative and analytical abilities to prepare communication materials and implement plans for successful campaigns, events and outcomes. 
  • Ability to work with complex member/donor database products.
  • Commitment to highest level standards of professionalism and fundraising best practice.
  • Proven reliability
  • Must have a valid Iowa Driver’s License
  • Ability to work a varied schedule including evenings and weekends

To Apply:
Please send a cover letter and resume to: or mail: Blank Park Zoo, Human Resources, 7401 SW 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50315

Include salary requirements in cover letter. Application deadline is November 10, 2014 or until the position is filled.


Part-Time Openings

The Blank Park Zoo is seeking a reliable individual for the position of custodian. Candidates will be responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the zoo facility on a daily basis. Hours vary from 12 – 40 hours per week depending on the time of year.

Essential Duties:

  • Cleans and restocks restrooms and checks them regularly throughout the day.
  • Empties all trash containers daily and as needed.
  • Cleans all litter on Zoo grounds, parking lot, and park property.
  • Assists with set-up for events, banquets, and rentals.
  • Cleans floors, windows, and garbage in lobby, rental spaces, and other public places.
  • Empties trash and recycle containers in the office building.
  • Assists with Zoo’s recycling program.
  • Maintains a clean and safe atmosphere for guests.
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Great customer service and communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Neat and organized
  • Ability to communicate effectively with others
  • Able to work weekends, holidays, special events, and evenings.
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions
  • Proven reliability.
  • Ability to pass background check.
  • Ability to lift and carry 50 pounds.

Pay Rate: $8 / hour

To apply:
Please submit a Blank Park Zoo application by e-mail: or mail: Blank Park Zoo, Human Resources, 7401 SW 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50315


Seasonal Openings:

Temporary Grounds Crew
Accomplish all aspects of zoo grounds maintenance, outdoor and indoor horticulture, equipment maintenance, and snow removal.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
The following duties are normal for this position.  These are not to be construed as exclusive or all inclusive.  Other duties may be required and assigned.
  • Responsible for all aspects of zoo grounds maintenance: mowing, trimming, turf maintenance (including fertilization and weed control), watering, edging and leaf removal.
  • Specific duties include daily watering, trimming, pruning, planting / transplanting and daily housekeeping.
  • Responsible for all snow removal on zoo grounds(on call). This includes maintaining safety of zoo grounds, parking lots and drives during inclement weather.
  • Operation of grounds maintenance equipment and related machinery.

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Previous work experience in horticulture field preferred.
  • Ability to handle a flexible workload with a variety of assignments.
  • Must be able to operate independently, exercise initiative, and demonstrate capacity for detail and follow-up.
  • Must be able to maintain work hours that will serve the needs of the Foundation (up to 40 hours in the summer and fall). Winter hours will vary based on weather and position will be on call.
Education and/or Experience
High school diploma.
Language Ability 
Ability to communicate effectively to all ages of visitors and staff.
Ability to understand modern grounds management, ability to research all applicable topics.
Iowa motor vehicle license
Physical Demands
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  Ability to bend, twist, lift >50 pounds, etc. to perform horticulture/maintenance/snow removal tasks.
Environmental Adaptability
Ability to function in all types of weather.
To Apply:
Send Blank Park Zoo application to:

Blank Park Zoo
Attn: Human Resources
7401 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50315
Or drop off application to the Zoo during regular business hours.

 Internship Opportunities  

Summer 2015 Animal Care Internships

Application Deadline:  March 1, 2015

The Blank Park Zoo is now accepting applications for the 2015 summer animal care internships. Internships are open to hard working, motivated candidates considering a career in zoo keeping.    Internships are nonpaid; housing and transportation are the responsibility of the intern. 

Internships are available in the Aquatics, Avian & Reptiles, Small mammal & Kids Kingdom (domestic), Education, and Large mammal/hoof-stock areas. Please see area descriptions for more information.  Summer intern dates are as follows: May 20 – August 14, 2015

Animal Care Interns will be introduced to general animal husbandry practices, including:

  • Daily cleaning and disinfection protocols
  • Animal observation and record keeping
  • Proper diet preparation
  • Exhibit maintenance
  • Public & volunteer interactions
  • Introduction to behavioral enrichment and training
  • Animal restraint and handling
  • Veterinary procedure participation
  • Problem solving


  • 18 years or older, currently enrolled or recently graduated, from college 
  • Preference is given to those who are in the zoology, ecology, conservation biology, or related field
  • Must be a positive, effective team member and be able to establish professional working relationships
  • Test Negative for TB, test will need to be done and paperwork turned in by the first day.
  • Successfully complete a background check
  • Capable of lifting 50 lbs.
  • Willing and able to work in all weather conditions
  • Available to work 40 hours per week from May 20 – August 14, including weekends and holidays.
  • Previous animal care experience preferred, but not required.
  • Select and execute a project with the help of animal care staff, which will be presented at the completion of the internship.
  • Complete BPZoo intern courses.

To apply:
Please send an Animal Care Intern Application, resume and cover letter indicating department of interest to:
Christine Eckles, Volunteer Manager, 7401 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315 or email: 

Animal Care Intern Applications can be found on here

Application Deadline: March 1, 2015

Additional Information about Areas

Candidate must have interest in all types of aquatic animals. Species in this area include California sea lions, harbor seals, penguins, otters, amphibians, and marine and freshwater fishes. Interns will be expected to observe Pinniped training.  Interns, who have demonstrated appropriate public speaking skills, may be asked to help deliver the demonstration script. Coursework in aquatic ecology, animal behavior, or previous experience working with the listed species is highly desirable.

Birds & Reptiles
Animals in this department are located throughout the zoo in mixed species exhibits.  Motivated interns will gain knowledge about husbandry, training, and enrichment for a diverse group of birds and reptiles. This includes 50+ species of birds, from Finches to Ostrich and 6+ species of reptiles, Geckos to Aldabra Tortoise. Coursework in ornithology and/or herpetology is preferred.  

Small Mammals & Kids Kingdom
Primary responsibilities include husbandry, observations and enrichment in our Contact Area working with Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Llamas, Miniature Zebu and Prairie Dogs.  Proven individuals may have the opportunity to assist with the daily care of Bennett's Wallaby, Red Panda, and Golden-Headed Lion Tamarin.  Interns must be able to work independently, as well part of a team.  Experience with domestic livestock or corresponding coursework highly preferred.

Large Mammals/hoof-stock
 Prefer reliable, enthusiastic candidates looking to gain experience working with exotic ungulates in a protected contact environment. While working closely with keeper staff, intern will gain knowledge in ungulate husbandry, training and enrichment. Intern will also perform an independent research project and interact with zoo guests daily. Species in this section include giraffe, black rhino and Bactrian camels.

We are looking for an enthusiastic person who enjoys working with animals and kids of all ages. Interns will work with our Education Specialists to learn about husbandry for over 35 species of program animals including mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and invertebrates.  Interns will also learn how to properly handle animals and present them to visitors at the zoo or offsite.  Experience or coursework with small animals and public speaking is preferred but not required.



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