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Internships

General Information

All of our internships are unpaid and we have no available housing or other assistance.

John Ball Zoo offers internships in the animal care field for students enrolled in colleges and high schools that have established intern programs. If you do not need academic credit, please consider our adult volunteer opportunities.

In addition to the application form we require a resume and a cover letter that should indicate why you are interested in an internship at John Ball Zoo and how you feel this will benefit you in your career aspirations.

Animal Care Internships for College Students

Internships for college students are 12 weeks in duration and 32 to 40 hours per week.

Animal Care Interns perform technical animal management work in the care and feeding of exotic and domestic animals; cleaning and maintenance of buildings, animal displays, and other animal enclosures. Interns also observe and report on the physical and behavioral condition of the animals. Work is performed under general supervision following established policies, procedures and instructions.

Applications for each semester will be accepted until the following dates:
Fall: July 31
Winter: November 30
Summer: January 31

Click here for a complete description for the College Animal Care Internship Program.

Animal Care Internships for High School Students

Internships for high school students are for the duration of the schools semester schedule. Students must work a minimum of 4 consecutive hours each week. Students under the age of 18 must have written permission from a parent or guardian. All students must have the approval of their program instructor or counselor. Dependable transportation to and from the zoo is also required.

High School Animal Care Interns perform basic animal management work in the care and feeding of exotic and domestic animals; the cleaning and maintenance of buildings, displays, cages, and yards; The intern will be working with a zookeeper at all times, following established policies, procedures and instructions.

Applications for each semester will be accepted until the following date:
Fall: 15 August
Winter: 15 December

Click here for a complete description on the High School Animal Care Internship Program.

Internships in other areas of zoo operations

Internships in other areas of Zoo operation are available on a case by case basis. Please contact Jim Swarts (616-336-4317 or email) for information and referral to the appropriate department. An application and a resume and cover letter detailing why you are interested in an internship at John Ball Zoo and how you feel this will benefit you in your career aspirations are required.

To Apply

Click here for an internship application.

For more information or to send the cover letter and resume, please contact
Jim Swarts, Volunteer Manager
John Ball Zoo
1300 W Fulton St
Grand Rapids MI 49504
Fax: 616 336-3907
Phone: 616 336-4317
Email: jswarts@jbzoo.org