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Audubon Nature Institute

Zoo Guest Engagement Manager


An integral member of the Education team, the Guest Engagement Manager (“Manager”) is responsible for the implementation and daily management of Audubon Zoo’s interpretive programs. These experiences include floor engagement, exhibit interpretation, programming, discovery carts, behind-the-scenes and facility tours, and special events. The manager is also responsible for the animal welfare of all animal ambassadors used at the zoo and will work closely with the husbandry team to ensure that best practices in animal ambassador management will be maintained by all departments involved. The main responsibilities of this position include: scheduling, training, and supervision of Guest Engagement Staff and Volunteers; managing and implementing on-site engagements, ensuring guest and animal safety procedures are followed; overseeing animal handling training and policies, working cooperatively with animal care/husbandry staff to maximize guest engagement experiences; and evaluating Guest Engagement staff members and their programs. 

As an active member of the Education leadership team, the Manager participates in programmatic and financial planning and management, seeks growth for him/herself and Education staff/programs, and regularly communicates and collaborates with other Education/VIR managers. The Manager supports the needs of the VP of Education and the department as required.



The listed duties are general statements of required major duties and responsibilities performed on a regular and continuous basis. They do not exclude other duties as assigned. To deliver on the Audubon mission, the Guest Engagement Manager will: 

Provide a Guest Experience of Outstanding Quality

  • Supervise, schedule, train and evaluate Guest Engagement Staff and Volunteers at Audubon Zoo 
  • Work with VP of Education to develop a comprehensive evaluation plan for all guest interaction experiences (carts, chats, interpretation, etc.) and camera readiness at each facility
  • Work with VP of Education and Director of Volunteer and Intern Resources to develop a comprehensive guest engagement/interaction training program for staff and volunteers
  • Work directly and cooperatively with the husbandry team in all aspects of animal ambassador collection planning, animal care and animal handling training and protocols
  • Responsible for communicating up-to-date educational and animal ambassador program information
  • Provide reliable and timely record keeping and evaluations of volunteers and assist the Volunteer Department with accurate reports
  • Communicate issues or concerns to the VP of Education in a timely manner 
  • Prepare for all programs by training staff and volunteers, maintaining inventory of supplies, and securing all physical space, as needed
  • Conduct analysis of programming and the changing needs of audiences in order to offer a diverse cluster of quality programs
  • Work with husbandry and guest services to develop a schedule for the guest engagement activities including floor engagement, exhibit interpretation, discovery carts and programming
  • Conduct staff and cross-departmental team meetings to discuss changes in policies and procedures, solicit input or recommendations, and review overall performance
  • Responsible for appropriate marquee signage and up to date program information
  • Serve as a model for professional behavior, display courtesy, tact, discretion, good judgment, consideration and respect

Weave Quality Entertainment through the Guest Experience

  • Lead the Guest Engagement Staff in developing quality, engaging experiences and programs for all guests
  • Supervise and assist in the continued training of all staff and volunteers in proper animal handling guidelines 
  • Develop evaluation tools for programs to reflect visitor interest and satisfaction and to identify future areas of growth
  • Assist the VP of Education with staff evaluation studies of exhibits and guest learning
  • Assist in training and evaluation methods to maintain and continue to improve the volunteer programs for the volunteer involved and the guest experience
  • Actively seek out and participates in professional development opportunities as approved by supervisor
  • Assist in operant training programs for animal ambassadors to better manage them for public presentations
  • Assist in general education department and additional guest programming needs as necessary
  • Collaborative in nature and demonstrates a positive attitude

Operate a Financially Self-Sufficient Collection of Museums and Parks

  • Effectively manage budgets for strategic and financial efficiency and sustainability
  • Research evidence that supports funding and programming priorities, insuring national, state, and local policies/standards are recognized and considered
  • Work with VP of Education to identify educational and conservation funding priorities and opportunities
  • Participate in coordinating, planning and writing grants that support programming priorities 
  • Assist in maintaining all grant administrative functions, record keeping and communication

Educate Our Diverse Audience about the Natural World

  • Actively seek regional and national level partnerships to develop, evaluate and promote cutting-edge educational programming and interpretation
  • Actively collaborate with the education department team to design and implement programs and presentations directly related to our collection and conservation messages
  • Actively collaborate with Marketing, Development, Membership and Special Events to support non-routine special events
  • Actively seek up-to-date information in informal educational methodologies and informal education trends 

To deliver on the Audubon service promise, the Education Manager will: 


  • Make eye contact with every customer encounter, smile at every person, offer friendly phrases and greetings
  • Walk individual to destination instead of pointing; offer assistance to people who look confused
  • Assume ownership of potential safety hazards (wipe-up spill, pick up trash). Always have the camera-ready look


  • Maintain positive attitude, pleasant tone of voice (remember it is not what you say, but how you say it)
  • Coach co-workers on service expectations
  • Be self-motivated with team building and conflict resolution abilities
  • Utilize the power of teamwork to give excellent service
  • Know when to involve management


  • Know the answers to questions or seek out the answers
  • Ensure work area is free of food, drink, socialization, and personal business
  • Follow Dress Code Policy on clothing and grooming
  • Keep unpleasant concerns behind closed doors (vent backstage)


  • Manages Guest Engagement Staff and Volunteers at Audubon Zoo



  • 5+ years working in an informal learning environment (preferably in zoos and aquariums) and demonstrated experience working in animal presentations and naturalist chats
  • Demonstrated computer literacy and working knowledge of technology
  • Demonstrated ability to relate and communicate effectively with youth and adults from diverse backgrounds
  • Demonstrated ability to read, interpret, and communicate documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions and procedure manuals. Ability to write routine reports and correspondence. 
  • Proven ability to speak effectively before groups of guests and employees.
  • Experience handling animals or ability to learn to handle animals including raptors, reptiles, aquatics, and invertebrates (all classes)
  • Demonstrate ability to develop partnerships and good working relations with others
  • Demonstrate knowledge of wildlife conservation and environmental issues
  • Demonstrate awareness and understanding of customer service and service recovery 
  • Experience in animal training and enrichment strongly desired



  • Bachelor’s degree required in Education, Biology, Zoology, Communications, Ecology, Environmental Education or related field and/or equivalent work experience.
  • Master’s degree preferred



  • Sitting or standing, bending, stooping, and the ability to carry items weighing up to 25 pounds
  • Ability to pass annual TB tests
  • Ability to perceive visual, odor, or behavioral changes in animals to determine changes in animals’ stress level or general wellbeing. Must have excellent peripheral vision, depth perception, and quick motor response for animal and audience control during presentations
  • Must be able to reach above shoulder level, stoop and squat to retrieve kennels and animals, which also may require stepping on stools. Must be able to lift and carry up to 30 pounds
  • Must be able to stand or walk for up to 2/3 of the day
  • Constant adequate range of motion and mobility required
  • Ability to speak loudly to crowds in a variety of situations included moderate to loud crowds
  • Typical ability to collect and analyze numerical and written data and verbal information to reach logical conclusions and ability to determine the time, place and sequence of operations or actions required
  • Regular talking and the ability to express and exchange ideas by means of language expected



  • Working long hours between breaks or meals required
  • Ability to work under and handle stress in an appropriate manner required
  • May be exposed to high, medium, or low noise intensity
  • Constant contact with co-workers required
  • Works effectively in a moderately noisy office
  • Affinity for animals required
  • Exposure to fluctuations in temperatures is required
  • Exposure to extreme heat and outdoor conditions is required
  • Must be able to work holidays and weekends

How to Apply

Audubon Nature Institute
6500 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70118

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