Passport to Your Future:
ZOO U - San Diego Zoo Global College Relations Program

Looking for an adventure next summer?

Be part of our College Relations program and work as a summer intern for the world-famous San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park—two of the busiest, most reputable, and most popular tourist attractions in the country!

  • Paid summer internships
  • Invaluable experience
  • Terrific resume builder
  • Fun in the sun this summer in San Diego.

The San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have your passport to adventure!

Each intern fills specific roles within an assigned home department. The College Relations Summer Internship program is broken into two categories: Hospitality/Operations and Animal Care Internships.

Hospitality/Operations internship opportunities:

  • Educational— including Camp Aide or Education Program Aide working the Summer Camp at the Zoo or Safari Park
  • Guest Services— including Food Service Clerk, Merchandise Sales Clerk, Ticket Seller and Guest Services Rep, Guest Ambassador, and Building and Grounds Attendant
  • Safari Experience— including Tour Operator Guide, Education Program Aide, and Walking Tour Guide (only at the Safari Park)
  • Operations — Tour Operator for Skyfari and Tour Starter for buses (only at the Zoo), and Tour Operator for Flightline (only at the Safari Park).

Animal Care internship opportunities:

There are positions within Animal Care at both the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, including Mammals (Safari Park), Avian Propagation (Zoo), Animal Behavior/Shows (Zoo), Elephants (Safari Park), Children's Zoo (Zoo), and possibly others.

Interns have the opportunity to attend intern-only classes and events, so they gain a real understanding of the business aspect of our organization: how we operate as a nonprofit organization, our global conservation efforts, how our board works, the financials, and many other key business facets.

Applications for 2019 summer internship positions will be available on the San Diego Zoo Jobs page beginning in January 2019. 

To request additional information, contact us at SDZGinternships@sandiegozoo.org.

College Fellowships

Each summer, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research is pleased to offer Summer College Student Fellowships in various areas of research. Since 1975, the Institute has made opportunities available to interested and qualified students to gain research experience in the field of zoological conservation research. It is made up of a diverse and dynamic research team, including the divisions of Applied Animal Ecology, Applied Plant Ecology, Behavioral Ecology, Conservation Education, Genetics, Reproductive Physiology, and Wildlife Disease Laboratories.

Fellowships are for 12 weeks, with two start dates based on semester or quarter programming (usually end of May and end of June). Students need to be officially associated with a university to be eligible for our undergraduate fellowship program. Undergraduates who are currently enrolled in college meet this criterion, as do graduating seniors who are continuing with their education in fall of the same year. Recent graduates who are not continuing their education in the fall are not eligible for the program. Eligible students interested in pursuing scientific careers relating to the scientific disciplines represented are welcome to apply. Each year, fellowships will be available in each of the seven divisions. Applications for fellowships are accepted between December 1 and January 31 of each year for the following summer. All applications must be received no later than January 31, 2019. Applications and more information are available online. To request additional information, you can reach us at SDZGinternships@sandiegozoo.org.

Veterinary Externships

For clinical veterinary externships info...
For clinical veterinary residency info...

Zoo InternQuest

Zoo InternQuest is a program that provides high school students interested in pursuing careers in the life sciences (biology, zoology, human or veterinary medicine, wildlife management, botany, etc.) with the opportunity to learn from Zoo experts. Virtual InternQuest allows individual students or whole classrooms anywhere in the world to participate in Zoo InternQuest through the Internet.

Internships at Other Zoos

For information on internships available at zoos and aquariums throughout the United States and Canada, check with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA).

Snow owl spirit looking down at young boy holding a lantern.
DEC 13–JAN 5


Presented by California Coast Credit Union
Baby aye-aye


Masai giraffe


Young brother and sister, mother and father wearing matching San Diego Zoo t-shirts.


Hotel with pool
Creature Comforts