Junior Zookeeper


Niabi Zoo offers many exciting internship opportunities in a variety of fields.
Niabi Zoo is a unique environment where interns can participate in hands-on activities and gain valuable experience in a zoo setting.

General Requirements

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must be enrolled in a two or four year college or university.
  • You must maintain at least an overall average of “C.”
  • You must submit a written proposal stating your goals for the internship.
  • A supervising professor must approve and participate in your internship if you will be receiving credit.

Application Procedure

The following items must be returned in order to be considered for an internship.
  • Internship Application
  • Resume
  • Copy of Transcripts
  • Proposal for internship
  • A letter of reference from an advisor or professor
Send to:
Niabi Zoo
Internship Opportunities
12908 Niabi Zoo Road
Coal Valley, IL 61240

Applications should be submitted at least one month before desired start date.
All interns are required to complete a minimum of 120 hours.

Emphasis Areas


  • Conservation Education

    Conservation Education is a non paid internship opportunity under the supervision of the educational director.
    This intern will:
    - help develop conservation curriculum
    - teach various Zoo classes/camps to children between the ages of 2 and 14
    - research and plan lessons/activities and then produce the required lesson materials.
    - provide short programs to the general public
    The hours are flexible.


  • Animal Behavior: Environmental Enrichment

Environmental Enrichment is a non paid internship. Niabi Zoo’s environmental enrichment program creates activities for the animals that encourage natural behaviors or activity. This may be a toy, activity, or treat. Under supervision of Zoo staff, the intern will research, create, and implement an animal enrichment project. When developing an enrichment project, the animal species, as well as the animal behavior must be carefully researched and monitored. (requires proof of negative TB test within the last year)
  • Animal Husbandry

Animal Husbandry is a non paid internship. Under supervision of Zoo staff, the intern will assist zookeepers in cleaning, feeding and care of animals at Niabi Zoo. The intern will develop an understanding of animal behaviors, care, and diets of a variety of types of animals. (Requires proof of negative TB test within the last year)

Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration

  • Event Coordination

Event Coordination is a non paid internship and is only offered in the spring or summer.
Under supervision of education staff, interns will have the opportunity to assist in the planning, coordination, and implementation of events held at Niabi Zoo, as well as events that the Zoo is involved in off Zoo grounds. Niabi Zoo events encourage visitors to enjoy the recreational value of the Zoo, as well as appreciate the Zoo as an educational resource.

Marketing and Public Relations

  • Development, Fundraising and Public Relations

Development and Fundraising is a non paid internship. Under supervision of marketing staff, interns will assist in researching available grant and fundraising opportunities, assist in grant writing, planning, coordination and implementation of fundraising projects. As well as prepare press releases, propose feature ideas to local media, submit newsletter articles, update Niabi Zoo’s web site, facebook page and twitter account, promote Zoo programs, and assist in expanding the Zoo’s regional public relations. Interns will also keep current with local and regional activities, and their effects on the Zoo.