Teen volunteer

2024 Jr. Interpreter Applications

We are no longer accepting applications for 2024. 

Teens interested in volunteering at the Akron Zoo can apply to become a member of our Jr. Interpreter Teen Volunteer program. Jr. Interpreters use public interaction to help guests learn about animals, as well as the zoo’s local, national and global conservation efforts.

A Jr. Interpreter is friendly, enthusiastic, dependable and genuinely interested in people, nature, animals and conservation. It is necessary that teens are outgoing in order to engage our guests, sharing information regarding our animals, our conservation efforts, and what they can do at home.  All of which enhances the overall guest experience.

As volunteers, Jr. Interpreters will aid and support the Akron Zoo in the areas of education and conservation through active participation in on-grounds activities, programming, and select special events.

As a Jr. Interpreter, teens will:
  • Meet people with similar interests
  • Accumulate community service hours
  • Gain first-hand knowledge of various zoo careers
  • Receive free zoo admission when not on-duty (excludes family/friends)
  • Get discounts in the zoo gift shop and Komodo Kingdom Café when on duty
Jr. Interpreters are required to:
  • Be between 14 and 18 years of age and entering 9th through 12th grade at the end of the current school year
  • Complete a Teen Volunteer Application.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation; at least one being from a teacher/administrator. (Home school students may use letters from someone other than a family member, such as clergy, coach, extra-curricular instructor, etc.) 
  • Be willing to learn about animals and conservation.
  • Communicate easily and effectively with zoo guests.
  • Have excellent guest service skills.
  • Follow all zoo policies, including proper uniform. Uniforms consist of a zoo-provided Jr. Interpreter uniform shirt, khaki or black pants or walking-length shorts, and close-toed shoes.
  • Volunteer a total of three days per week from 9:30am-5:15pm with one day being a weekend day.

No formal training or background in education or work experience is required.

All candidates who submit a completed application and 2 letters of recommendation, will be invited to attend the REQUIRED Information Session with a parent or guardian on March 21, 2024. The Information Session will consist of program expectations and requirements, a group activity, an impromptu presentation, and group interviews. Applicants will be dismissed after their interview.

Teens who are offered a position will need to attend training sessions in April, including one training at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Details will be given to those accepted into the program.

Jr. Interpreter Program Fees:

Selected candidates must pay a program fee of $75.* This fee helps defray the cost of Jr. Interpreter uniform shirt, name tag, water bottle, training manual, off-site field trips and various program supplies.

*Scholarships are available. Please email the Education Department for details.

Contact the Education Department with additional questions.