Animal Care Program

The goal of the Zoo’s Animal Care Volunteer and Intern program is for undergraduate and graduate students to engage in experiences at the Zoo that will enhance their educational and professional experiences.

We are currently accepting applications for animal care volunteers and interns. If you are interested in volunteering with the Zoo, please follow the appropriate instructions for each position. 

See application deadlines and start dates below.


Animal Care Volunteers work with animal caretakers in their areas assisting in the daily cleaning and disinfecting, diet preparation and distribution, enrichment activities, data collection, and exhibit maintenance.

Did you know BPZOO also has an active aquatics team specializing in salt-water fish and invertebrates like coral? Candidates with a passion or experience in marine science and marine biology are encouraged to apply!

Please note: direct animal contact is limited and is at the discretion of the animal caretaker.


  • Serious interest in all animals and their behavior & habits, husbandry, enrichment, training, and conservation
  • Volunteers must be at least 17 years old
  • Be physically fit – must be able to lift 50lbs and be on feet for long periods
  • Commitment of one, two or three full 8 hour shifts per week for at least a semester (Fall, Spring, Summer). Shifts are 7AM – 4PM from November – March, and 8AM – 5PM from March – November due to daylight savings time.

To apply to be an Animal Care Volunteer:

  • Please complete the Buttonwood Park Zoo Volunteer Application
  • All applications will be reviewed once the deadline passes for each semester. Please note, an application is not a guarantee of an interview or offer due to the competitive nature and skills required for this program position.
spring 2024summer 2024fall 2024
Application dueDecember 11MAY 1August 1
Orientation datejanuary 8Late maylate august
Start Datejanuary 22June 2September 8
end datemay 17August 24December 20



BPZOO is a host site for Animal Care Internships if your school offers academic credit for volunteer animal care service. If this is the case, when applying for the animal care volunteer program, indicate that you are eligible for an internship, listing your school and requirements. All positions are highly competitive and not guaranteed.

To apply to be an Animal Care Intern:

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR INTERNSHIP (University of Rhode Island Students Only)

BPZOO has an incredible partnership with the University of Rhode Island for college students looking to study Animal Behavior. Students at URI have the opportunity to take the Advanced Methods in Applied Animal Behavior course with an experiential learning internship at BPZOO to learn first hand how observational data is collected on unique species around the Zoo.

Before you apply, please make sure you meet the following requirements. You will:

  • Be an enrolled student of URI for the full duration of the semester you are applying to
  • Be eligible to apply for URI’s internship credit
  • Be able to take the AVS 443 class with Dr. Justin Richard during the same semester
  • Intern for 2-4 full days each week through the semester

To apply to be an Animal Behavior Intern:

If you have questions, or would also like to submit your resume in addition to this application, please contact the Animal Behavior Internship Team via email

    A Gift That Lasts All Year! 

    BPZOO Memberships make a perfect gift for the animal lover in your life.