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Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

Zoo Keeper FT/PT Benefited

Are you ready to join a team that is “Building Community Through Fun?” Are you ready to make a difference?

The City of San José’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services (PRNS) is looking for people who want to make San José a better place to live. Our mission is to connect people through parks, recreation and neighborhood services for an active San José. ActivateSJ, PRNS’ latest strategic work plan, is committed to establishing healthy communities that inspire belonging by following the guiding principles of stewardship, nature, equity & access, identity and public life.

The Department creates and activates thriving places where people live, work, play, and learn, which include 48 community centers, 10 regional parks, 209 neighborhood parks, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, 290 playgrounds and almost 61 miles of trails, programs and services that touch the lives of individuals and families in our community. We take a fun approach to public service, and value the public’s trust. Our team is collaborative, supportive, and innovative. We are a fast-paced organization that takes decisive action after thoughtful planning.

For more information, please visit


Positions & Duties

Pursuant to the City’s Covid-19 Mandatory Vaccination and Testing Policy, the City of San Jose is requiring all new hires to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of employment absent a documented medical and/or religious exemption.

Please note that applications are currently not accepted through CalOpps or any other third party job board application system. To apply, applicants must complete an application via the City of San Jose’s website at

This position is covered under the Living Wage Policy with a current hourly rate of $24.07 and Health Care Benefits eligibility. The Living Wage rate consists of a base amount and an approximate five percent (5%) ongoing compensation pay.

The Department is currently recruiting to fill one (1) full-time vacancy and one (1) part-time, benefited vacancy for Zoo Keeper positions at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. The Department is seeking highly motivated, personable individuals with strong leadership skills and innovative ideas to become part of a dynamic team of employees with a strong commitment to providing excellent service to our diverse community.

NOTE: These positions will be required to work weekends, evenings, and holidays, during all climactic conditions as assigned and must have the ability to enter animal areas and perform physical work (including lifting objects up to 50 lbs.).

The position performs work involving the care and feeding of zoo, domestic farm, and/or non-domestic animals and maintenance of cages, enclosures, grounds and service areas; working with animals under all types of climatic conditions to prepare them for presentations, capture and restraint, basic husbandry, and behavioral enrichment. In addition, responding to general questions from the public regarding non-domestic and/or domestic animals.

About Happy Hollow Park & Zoo (HHPZ): This is a 16-acre amusement park and Association of Zoo's & Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoo located in San José, California. HHPZ is open year-round catering to families with children. It operates seven amusement park rides, showcases various endangered species, and operates one of the oldest classical puppet theaters in California, as well as offering many other playgrounds and attractions emphasizing play and imagination in a natural conservation setting.

This recruitment may be used to fill multiple positions in this, or other divisions or departments. If you are interested in employment in this classification, you should apply to ensure you are considered for additional opportunities that may utilize the applicants from this recruitment.


Minimum Qualifications

Education: Completion of high school diploma or equivalent General Educational Development (G.E.D.) Certificate, or California Proficiency Certificate.

Experience: One (1) year (equivalent to 2,080 hours) of experience in the care of non-domestic animals.

Acceptable Substitutions: College coursework in zoology, biology, or related field can substitute for the required experience on a year-for-year basis. One (1) year of coursework is equivalent to 30 semester units/45 quarter units. 

Licenses: Possession of a valid California Driver's License may be required.

Employment Eligibility: Federal law requires all employees to provide verification of their eligibility to work in this country. Please be informed that the City of San Jose will NOT sponsor, represent, or sign any documents related to visa applications/transfers for H1-B or any other type of visa which requires an employer application. State law requires all employees working with youth to provide medical verification of negative tuberculosis test results within the last year.


The ideal candidate will possess the following competencies, as demonstrated in past and current employment history. Desirable competencies for this position include:

Job Expertise: Demonstrates knowledge of and experience with applicable professional/technical principles and practices, Citywide and departmental procedures/policies, and federal and state rules and regulations. Demonstrated skills and experience with the following:  

  • Knowledge of and experience with modern zoo operating practices and principles, including safety.
  • Knowledge of and experience with principles for working with domestic and/or non-domestic animals as they pertain to park and zoo exhibits and performance of animal husbandry tasks.  
  • Knowledge of and experience with normal domestic and/or non-domestic animal behavior, with the ability to recognize and report abnormal behavior, attitude, or appearance of animals.  
  • Knowledge of and experience with behavioral enrichment and animal training programs.
  • Knowledge of and experience with performing and/or assisting with basic veterinary procedures, handling and restraint of a wide variety of animals such as reptiles, birds, mammals, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, rabbits, and/or other domestic and non-domestic animals as they pertain to park and zoo exhibits.
  • Knowledge of and experience with performing basic construction and maintenance of animal habitats and displays, including plant maintenance.

Communication Skills: Effectively conveys information and expresses thoughts and facts clearly, orally and in writing; demonstrates effective use of listening skills; displays openness to other people’s ideas and thoughts.

Initiative: Exhibits resourceful behaviors toward meeting job objectives; anticipates problems, is proactive, and avoids difficulties by planning ahead; displays willingness to assume extra responsibility and challenges; pursues continuing education opportunities that promotes job performance.

Multi-tasking: Can handle multiple projects and responsibilities simultaneously; has handled a wide variety of assignments in past and/or current position(s).

Problem Solving: Approaches a situation or problem by defining the problem or issue; determines the significance of problem; collects information; uses logic and intuition to arrive at decisions or solutions to problems that achieve the desired outcome.

Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills: Develops effective relationships with co-workers and supervisors by helping others accomplish tasks and using collaboration and conflict resolution skills.

Selection Process

The selection process will consist of an evaluation of the applicant's training and experience based on the application and responses to the Job Specific Questions. Only the candidates whose backgrounds best match the position will be invited to proceed in the selection process. Additional phases of the selection process may consist of one or more interviews.

You will be prompted to answer the following job-specific questions during the online application process. Please note that there is a 4,000-character limit, including spaces for each text response. You must answer all job-specific questions in order to be considered for this vacancy or your application will be deemed incomplete and withheld from further consideration. Your responses should be consistent with your work history as described in your application and resume. 

1. If you indicated having completed college coursework in zoology, biology, or a related field from an accredited college or university, please describe your coursework and indicate how many semester or quarter units completed at the time of application.

2. If you indicated having experience in the care of zoo, domestic farm, and/or non-domestic animals, please include your job title(s), employer(s), length of time (start/end date), the average number of hours worked per week at each facility, and the species of animals you cared for.

3. Please describe your experience with veterinary procedures. In your response please specify any professional level achieved in a veterinary program, level of experience with all major groups (birds, reptiles, mammals), and ability to assist with the following: blood draw; chemical capture; anesthesia; x-rays; dentistry; administration of vaccines and IM injections; vital sign monitoring; capture and restraint; medical treatment plans and; ability to administer oral, sub Q, and topical medications. Please include the number of years and employer(s) where you obtained your experience.

4. Please describe your experience in zoo operations, husbandry, and training. In your response please specify your experience in operant conditioning, classical conditioning, enrichment, veterinary procedures, exhibit maintenance, record keeping, and animal nutrition.

5. Please describe your experience working with volunteers. In your response include the number of volunteers, types of training, number of years of experience, and your role with regards to coordination and interaction with volunteers.

6. Please describe your experience and involvement with any specialized animal care programs or techniques, such as SSP’s, ZIMS, training, enrichment or other.

7. What do you believe are the most important responsibilities of an animal care professional in a public institution?


Additional Information 

If you have questions regarding the duties of this position, please contact Kiersten McCormick, Parks Manager, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo at

If you have questions regarding selection or hiring process, please contact Dominique Voelker, Employee Services Analyst at

To learn more about City Benefits, click here.

To learn more about the PRNS Department, click here.

To apply, please complete an application via the City of San Jose’s website at The application deadline is 11:59 PM on the final filing date on Monday, January 31, 2022. Please allow adequate time to complete the application and submit before the deadline or the system may not save your application. If your online application was successfully submitted, you will receive an automatic confirmation email to the email address you provided. IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE THE CONFIRMATION, please email and we will research the status of your application. Please contact Human Resources at (408) 535-1285 or via email at if you have any questions.

How to Apply

All applications must be submitted through the City of San Jose:

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo
1300 Senter Rd.
San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: 4087946400

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