Friends of the Zoo

Friends of the Zoo

Become a member of the Friends of the Zoo, the docent organization based in the Education Department at the Bronx Zoo. Enthusiastic adults 22 or older, who can serve weekdays or weekends for a minimum of two years, are prime candidates for the program. Weekday docents serve one day per week; weekend docents serve one day every other weekend. Docents enjoy free admission to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s four zoos and the aquarium in New York. They receive continuing education courses on wildlife biology, and discounts at WCS gift shops.

As part of the Education department, docents:

  • Offer guided tours of zoo exhibits to schoolchildren, organized groups, and families.
  • Work as exhibit interpreters in exhibits throughout the Park providing visitors with valuable lessons that promote wildlife conservation.
  • Assist the Education Department with its environmental education programs.
  • Assist at special events (Members’ Nights, Overnight Safaris, etc.)

To become a Friend of the Zoo, candidates need to pass an interview, to participate in a 3 month period of activities and in-park observation, and to successfully complete a 3 month training course.

The Training Program

The staff of the Education Department and the members of the Friends of the Zoo will mentor trainees. Trainees will attend 8-10 days of classes and exhibit tours led by Education Department staff and veteran docents. The training course will include homework and a 10 minute final presentation. The goals of the 6 month training program are:

  • To acquaint the trainee with the mission of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Friends of the Zoo.
  • To orient the trainee to the facilities and policies of the Bronx Zoo.
  • To help the trainee learn about the animals and exhibits.
  • To help the trainee to feel comfortable as a member of the volunteer organization.
  • To provide the skills necessary for interacting with the visitors to the Zoo.

Class Days

All class days for both weekday and weekend trainees will be on Sundays from 9:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. There will be 8-10 class days in the fall.

Volunteer service begins in March of the following year.

The first step in the process of becoming a Friend of the Zoo is to fill out the online application (click on the link below). We will contact you when the next recruitment program begins.

Volunteer Application Form

For further information contact the docent office at the Bronx Zoo at (718) 220-5141 or foz@wcs.org.