Volunteer programs

Join the fun at Happy Hollow by become a volunteer!  You can help our staff while working with animals, educating children, entertaining visitors of all ages, and developing your own professional skills. There are lots of ways to volunteer!



Ages: 18 and up
Time Commitment: Hours vary; minimum of 4-6 hours per month
When to Apply: Ongoing Recruitment
Next Docent Orientation: November 

Description: Docents work alongside our Education and Zookeeper Staff to provide educational experiences for our guests. Activities include performing Meet & Greets with live animals, conducting Exhibit Talks with biofacts, assisting educators with classes, and monitoring our contact yard.
Additional Information: The Docent Program requires a minimum of a six month commitment with the option to continue. Docent Orientation & Training consists of three weekday evening classes as well as one Saturday class. All classes are mandatory for admittance into the program. Background with animal handling and public speaking is beneficial but not required. 


Keeper Aides

Ages: 18 and up
Time Commitment: One day a week, 9:00am-1:00pm
When to Apply: Ongoing recruitment 
Next Keeper Aide Orientation: TBD  
Description: Keeper Aides work closely with Zookeeper Mentors while helping to take care of our exhibit animals. They are assigned routines which include cleaning animal exhibits, preparing diets, and providing enrichment for our zoo animals.   
Additional Information: The Keeper Aide Program requires a minimum of a six month commitment with the option to continue. If accepted to the program, Keeper Aides are assigned a single routine which they will learn and complete over the first six months. After the initial period, Keeper Aides are given an evaluation, during which their potential advancement in the program is determined. Background with animal husbandry is beneficial but not required.



Ages: 14-18 
Time Commitment: Minimum of 70 hours from May-August
When to Apply: November-March
Description: Zooteens work closely with our Education and Zookeeper Staff. They conduct Meet & Greets, complete Animal Care routines, and assist Camp Counselors during our summer camp programs. They are required to work a minimum of two of each activity shifts during the summer season. Additional volunteer opportunities are available throughout the school year.
Additional Information: Our Zooteen Program is highly competitive and limited spots are available each year, depending on the number of current Zooteens returning to the program. Applications are accepted November through March of each school year and selected applicants are invited to an interview that spring. After all candidates have been interviewed, the Volunteer Department will notify each candidate of the outcome. Applicants that have not been selected for an interview and candidates that are not selected for the Zooteen Program that year are welcome to reapply the following season. Prior volunteer experience and background with animal handling, public speaking, and/or working with children are beneficial but not required.

Zooteen Training: The next Zooteen Training will take place in May 2015. Zooteen Orientation & Training takes place over three consecutive Saturdays. Attendance to all three days is required for admittance into the Zooteen Program. There are no exceptions.


Special Events Volunteers 

Ages: 18 and up
Time Commitment: Varies
When to Apply: Ongoing recruitment
Description: Special Events Volunteers assist with various events and projects at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. Please contact our Volunteer Department for more information. 


How to Apply 

If you are interested in joining our team, please submit a volunteer application or contact:

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo
Volunteer Department
1300 Senter Road.
San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: 408.794.6425 
Fax: 408.794.6470
Email: HHPZvolunteers@sanjoseca.gov

Please note, all volunteers are subject to a $50 fee for training materials, a volunteer shirt, and a volunteer name tag. 

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