Internship Program

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​"The staff was great! They allowed me to be very hands on and were very helpful in answering any questions I had. They took extra time to make sure my interests were met."

— Katie R., Veterinary Hospital Animal Care/Nutrition Intern​

Named one of the Top 10 Non-Profit Internship programs in the United States by Vault*, the Zoo's Internship Program offers a unique opportunity for college students (at least a junior level) and recent graduates to become actively involved in the Zoo's conservation, research, education and recreation efforts. Interns can enhance their knowledge and experience in various animal care and administrative roles.

​Interns work 20-40 hours per week for 12 consecutive weeks (minimum). Positions are experience-based and are unpaid. The Zoo can provide information to assist with your housing and transportation search.

The deadline to apply for summer internships has passed. We will begin accepting applications for the fall semester in mid-May. 

Opportunities are also available for a Veterinary Student Externship​ and Life Sciences Apprenticeship. Click the job titles to learn more.

For more information, contact Adam Garrett in Volunteer Services at or 317-630-2041.

* Vault is an international company that specializes in providing information for professionals and students seeking high-potential careers.

Internship Application Deadlines:


​Applications Accepted

​Application Deadlines

​Summer (May-Aug.)

​Jan. 10-March 10

​March 10

​Fall (Sept.-Dec.)

​May 10-July 10

​July 10

​Spring (Jan.-April)

​Sept. 10-Nov. 10

​Nov. 10


"I feel privileged to have been an intern at the Indianapolis Zoo. Everyone has been so kind and willing to share their knowledge with me! I will cherish this experience and am very grateful for the opportunity."

— Cara W., Oceans Aquarist Intern​

Internship Opportunities

Positions vary by semester and may be offered in these areas:

Conservation Education

Join our multi-disciplined team of educators, scientists, and conservationists to develop and implement a far-reaching series of programs that will have a measurable, significant and positive impact on wildlife and wild places around the planet, and help transform the City of Indianapolis into a community that embraces environmental stewardship as a core value. Conservation Education Program interns assist with camps, overnights and variety of other visitor programming. Interns will have opportunities to experience educational programming from a range of viewpoints from development to facilitation.  

Conservation Education On-Grounds Interpretation

On-grounds interpretation interns take part in guest experiences on grounds, such as Animal Chats, informal interpretation in the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center and roving throughout the Zoo, as well as participate in day to day preparation and organization of experiences and assist with creating programming.

Conservation Education Program Evaluation

Help us better understand the guest experience so we can achieve our conservation mission! You'll ask guests for their opinions and impressions using surveys, observe how guests use exhibit spaces, and make recommendations for improvement based on the resulting data. This summer we will focus on the dolphin presentation and the new Family Nature Center.

Encounters — Birds

Flights of Fancy, A Brilliance of Birds contains birds from around the world. Interns are given the opportunity to work with a variety of species, including budgies, cockatiels, l​orikeets, helmeted guinea fowl, and Chilean and Caribbean Flamingos.

Human Resources

Looking for some hand-on experience in human resources and non-profit management? This is the internship for you! Human resources interns assist with all aspects of human resources, from recruiting and training to administrative functions. Work closely with the human resources and volunteer services staff in this dynamic setting. Learn about the fast-paced world of human resources in an environment that is one of a kind!

Institutional Advancement

The Institutional Advancement Department creates and implements the Indianapolis Zoo's fundraising efforts. This internship position will provide substantial experience in non–profit development and management, grant writing, event planning, researching donor prospects, and solicitation strategizing, in addition to gaining valuable office experience working in one of the top 10 zoos in the nation. Individuals with great attention to detail, previous experience with special events and team players are encouraged to apply.

Marine Mammals/Carnivore Area 

Working with one of the most diverse marine mammal collections in the U.S., this internship is ideal for individuals wishing to learn more about proper husbandry for keeping marine mammals and large carnivores in captivity. Interns in these areas may encounter Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, Pacific walrus, Alaskan brown bears and Amur tigers. 

​Marketing — Group Sales

Interns assist Marketing Group Sales personnel with a variety of duties including implementing and facilitating private events. This position also works with ticket sales programs.

Marketing — Special Events

Marketing/Special Events interns will work closely with the events and advertising manager in minor planning of special events and to implement comprehensive advertising plans.

Occupational Safety and Health

The Indianapolis Zoo is dedicated to the elimination of staff and guest injuries and illnesses through the implementation of the Zoo Safety and Health Programs, as well as maintaining compliance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations. Occupational safety and health interns will be asked to help lead this effort through performing safety and health inspections and assessing the grounds for safety and health hazards.

Oceans Biome

The Zoo's aquarium houses one of the nation's largest shark touch tanks! Interns may have the opportunity to work with numerous species including smooth dogfish sharks, a wide variety of reef fish, moray eels, jellyfish, seahorses, and penguins to name a few! 

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. 

Orangutans/Forests Primates

The Indianapolis Zoo is home to the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, recipient of the AZA's Exhibit Award for Innovation. This internship offers the opportunity to work side-by-side with the staff who care for the Zoo's 12 orangutans. Primate species in Forests include ring-tailed lemur and white-handed gibbon.​

Plains Area

This internship offers a unique experience working side-by-side with keepers. Species interns will encounter in the Plains area include African lions, cheetahs, Grant's zebras, greater kudu, Guinea baboons, reticulated giraffes, and white rhinoceros. 

Public Relations

Help promote awareness of the world-class Indianapolis Zoo! Working with the media, the Zoo's social media strategies, video, press releases, and overall participation in the Zoo's public relations efforts is a sampling of the adventures that await you as a member of the public relations team. ​

Veterinary Hospital Animal Care/Nutrition

Pre-Veterinary majors have the chance to 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.

Volunteer Management

Jo​in this fast-paced department and take part in all aspects of volunteer management. Help recruit, select, train, motivate, and supervise our great group of nearly 600 individuals between the ages of 14 and 95. You will gain administrative and organizational skills, learn about non-profit management , and have fun, too!

Veterinary Student Externship

Preceptorship or Off-Campus Block

Veterinary students will observe and assist the veterinarians with clinical cases, treatments, immobilizations, surgeries, necropsies, and medical record keeping. The student will be required to complete and present a project during the externship. Externships are 40 hours per week for 4-6 weeks as per fourth year vet student requirements. Arrangements for externships must be made far in advance. This opportunity is available year round for enrolled vet students; vet techs do not qualify for the externship. Click here to apply!

Life Sciences Apprenticeship

The Indianapolis Zoo is excited to offer a new paid position for college students pursuing a career in animal or horticultural husbandry. The Life Sciences Apprenticeship Program is available to current college seniors and graduate students and will involve working, learning and understanding how the animal or horticultural staff cares for its collection.

Applications for the fall session will be accepted mid-May.​​

Animal Collections Experience:

-The apprentice will experience working in several animal collections departments. Candidates will get a first-hand look at how Zookeepers care for the Zoo's exotic animals.

-The apprentice will spend time working in the Zoo's animal commissary department. Candidates may help prepare diets, clean the work environment and make deliveries to various animal departments.

Horticulture Experience:

-The apprentice will experience working with the Horticulture team throughout the Zoo.

Other Experiences:

-The apprentice will have the opportunity to meet and talk with the Zoo's president.

-Apprentices may shadow in other departments, including Education, Marketing, Guest Services and Safety/Security.

Completion of the Life Sciences Apprenticeship is a pre-requisite to participation in the Zoo's new Life Sciences Training Program (beginning in 2019). ​