Animal Care Internships

Organization: Indianapolis Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Job or Internship: Internship

The Indianapolis Zoo hosts 271 species of animals in naturalistic exhibits in five biomes including 19 threatened or endangered species, 30 Species Survival Plans (SSP), maintains five SSP breeding studbooks, and with the support of the Polly Horton Hix Institute for Conservation and Research, is one of the top conservation research facilities in the United States.

Interns play an important role in animal conservation and have the unique opportunity to work alongside Keepers/Aquarists to assist in various aspects of maintaining the animal collection including animal husbandry, diet preparation and delivery, exhibit maintenance, as well as behavioral enrichment. The work is challenging, dirty, and often unglamorous, but can be highly rewarding. It offers the personal satisfaction of helping to provide healthy conditions for the animals along with the opportunity to learn the husbandry techniques of a world-class zoo. Animal Care Interns should be prepared to work in all weather conditions and must be extremely dependable.

Animal Care positions may be available in the following areas:

Encounters-Birds – This newly opened exhibit features hundreds of exotic birds in five different aviaries. Surround yourself with playful lorikeets, majestic flamingos, peculiar southern ground hornbill, curious budgies and more!

Marine Mammal/Carnivore Area – Including one of the most diverse marine mammal collections in the US, species Interns may encounter include Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, California sea lion, Harbor seal, Pacific walrus, polar bear, Alaskan brown bear, and Amur tiger. The dolphin pavilion includes an underwater walkthrough viewing area. SCUBA and CPR certifications preferred.

Oceans Biome – This aquarium houses one of the nation’s largest shark touch tanks! The building also holds numerous other species including a wide variety of reef fish, sharks, Moray eels, jellies, seahorses, and penguins to name a few! Conservation projects include Project Penguin. SCUBA Certification is preferred but not required.

Oceans Water Quality Lab – The water quality lab monitors the water quality for all exhibits throughout the zoo that include water features. Interns work with the water quality lab supervisor, and assist with the collection and analysis of water samples and maintain daily water quality records. Opportunities to assist in animal related activities and perform routine exhibit care are also available. SCUBA Certification is preferred but not required.

Plains/Forest Primates Biome – Species in the Plains area include the Addra gazelle, African lion, African wild dog, cheetah, Grant's zebra, greater kudu, Guinea baboon, Marabou stork, ostrich, reticulated giraffe, warthog, and white rhinoceros. Species in the Forest Primates area include lemurs and gibbons. The Plains biome also features a giraffe feeding platform.

Veterinary Hospital Animal Care/Nutrition – Pre-Veterinary majors have the chance to work alongside some of the top veterinary professionals in the industry. Interns assist the veterinary hospital keepers in providing care for the hospital patients and quarantine animals. Interns also assist the Commissary Staff in daily diet preparation, delivery, and inventory management.

Most positions are offered year round and can take place in one of three sessions: Winter/Spring (January-April), Summer (May-August), and Fall (September-December). Typically, Interns work 20-40 hours per week for a minimum of 12 weeks in length, depending on the position. However, these 12 weeks must be consecutive in length. Intern positions are experience based and are therefore unpaid. Housing and transportation are the responsibility of the Intern, although the Zoo can assist in the arrangement of such services if requested.

Application packets will not be considered if received after the following dates for an internship during that time frame. Typically, applications are considered two months prior to the deadline. Offers may be made to candidates before the deadline. Do not wait until the deadline to send in your materials. The deadline is the last chance cut off date.

All candidates must submit an application, cover letter, resume, 2 letters of recommendation, and a copy of their transcripts in order to be considered for any intern positions.

Summer Session (May-August)...................March 10

Fall Session (September-December)............July 10

Winter/Spring Session (January-April)..........November 10

For further information and to print an application, visit our website,, under “About the Zoo,” then “Careers/Volunteers” section or contact the Zoo Volunteer Office at

(317)630-2041 or email