Junior Zookeeper Leadership Program

Applications are now open for the Junior Zookeeper Leadership Program for the Summer of 2019!

Space is limited so apply soon!

Update (4/11/19) : The first wave of acceptance e-mails has gone out.  We e-mailed the acceptance notifications to the e-mail address(es) provided on the application.  If you applied prior to 4/11/19 and have not yet seen your acceptance notification, please e-mail us.  Further applicants will be notified in waves moving forward.


The Junior Zookeeper leadership program is an excellent opportunity for youth, ages 11-14 or who have completed the 5th grade (whichever comes first), to gain valuable skills and memorable experiences during the summer at the Red River Zoo.

The Junior Zookeeper Program focuses on instilling leadership, responsibility, and self-confidence in today’s youth, while also educating the participants about the Zoo’s mission of conservation and education.

This program gives insight into many aspects of operating a modern zoo and highlights the various roles that are important to its smooth and efficient operation. Participants will have the opportunities to assist in animal care, create enrichment, educate the public, inspire conservation action, learn more about our animals, and help clean, prepare and maintain the zoo each day.

The program will explore weekly themes on leadership, animal husbandry, conservation, and naturalistic interpretation. These themes are explored through team activities, responsibility for daily tasks and giving the participants creative ownership over several projects.

Join us and experience summer at the zoo!


*While the program is inclusive the youth are often exposed to loud and close quarter environments which sensory sensitive individuals may find overwhelming. Staff supervision is split between several groups and is not one-on-one. Please contact us with any questions regarding the accommodations we can provide.


To be accepted into the program, please fill out the online application below. The application consists of registration information and a personal statement to be answered by the youth participant. Acceptance into the Junior Zookeeper Leadership program is not guaranteed.

The Junior Zookeeper program runs throughout the summer months of June, July, and half of August. We train new participants on the 1st and 2nd of each month. Start and end dates are as follows:

June 1st-30th
July 1-31st
August 1st-17th

The program operates daily. Junior Zookeeper daily shifts are half days from 9:00am-1:00pm and from 1:00pm-5:00pm and Junior Zookeepers can attend up to 30 shifts per month.

Program Cost:

NEW for 2019 – We now offer a Red River Zoo member rate and a non-member rate for the program.  Membership is no longer a requirement for participation in the program.

June & July –

Red River Zoo Members: $150 per month (includes up to 30 shifts per month)
Non-members: $195 per month (includes up to 30 shifts per week)

August (two-week session) –

Red River Zoo Members: $75 (includes up to 7 shifts per week)
Non-member: $90 (includes up to 7 shifts per week)


Once accepted to the Junior Zookeeper Leadership Program, you must complete the following steps:
• Attend an Orientation – Orientations will take place at the Red River Zoo on Wednesday and Thursday, May 22nd & 23rd at the Red River Zoo. There will be two sessions both days at 6:00 pm & 7:30 pm. Seating is limited, so it is recommended to attend with one parent/guardian.
• If you are unable to participate in either orientation, please notify zoo staff at [email protected]
• Complete waivers and payments (Due before the 1st session of the month for which you are attending.)

How to Apply

The Junior Zookeeper program application can be completed below.

If you have questions about the application process or regarding your submitted application, please e-mail us.