Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $14 Adult | $8 Child

View All Rates ›

Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $14 Adult | $8 Child

View All Rates ›

2018 Summer Animal Care Internship

Date Posted
December 20, 2017

Job Details

Application Deadline - March 1, 2018

The Blank Park Zoo is now accepting applications for the 2018 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 16 – August 11, 2018.

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 16 – August 11, 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.


Contact Information

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:

Click here to download the Animal Care Intern Application.

Application Deadline - March 1, 2018



Additional Information about Areas


Candidates must have interest in marine and freshwater aquarium animals. Species in the area include a variety of Indo-pacific and Atlantic tropical reef fishes and invertebrates, Amazonian fish, reptiles and amphibians, African cichlids, Pacific cold-water fish and invertebrates, and North American pond turtles. Interns will be expected to learn proper diet preparation practices, water quality standards, general maintenance of aquarium exhibits, and life support systems. Interns, who have SCUBA certification who has passed a doctor physical assessment may be asked to aide in diving to clean exhibits. Coursework in aquatic ecology, ichthyology, fish, amphibian, or aquatic reptile disease and medicine, and general animal behavior or previous experience working with the listed species is highly desirable.

Avian & Reptiles

We are looking for motivated, enthusiastic candidates to work around a wide variety of species and exhibits. Interns will gain experience in daily husbandry, exhibit upkeep, observations, enrichment and training for a diverse group of birds and reptiles. This includes 40+ species of birds, from Finches to Ostrich, and 6 species of reptiles.


We are looking for an enthusiastic person who enjoys working with a variety of animals and people of all ages. Interns will get lots of hands on experience while working closely with our Education Specialists to learn about husbandry for nearly 50 species of program animals including mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and invertebrates.  Interns will also get the chance to learn how to properly handle the animals and educate people about them at the zoo and offsite. Experience or coursework with small animals and public speaking is preferred but not required.

Large Mammals

Successful candidates will gain experience with all aspects of exotic ungulate husbandry, including diet, enrichment, and training, while working alongside keeper staff in updated facilities. Interns may also work around neonates and observe animal procedures, handling, and transports. Species in this section: reticulated giraffe, black rhino, common eland, addax, nyala, slender-horned gazelle, watusi, and Bactrian camels.

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.

Carnivore/Primate Team

Looking for individuals interested in working alongside keeper staff to gain knowledge in animal husbandry, training and enrichment with a diverse collection of animals. Species in the area include large cats, pinnipeds, primates, otters and penguins. Interns who possess appropriate public speaking skills may be asked to narrate demonstrations. For safety reasons interns will have limited interaction with both large cats and certain primate species.

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