Red Panda in enclosure


Animal Department internships

The Mill Mountain Zoo Internship Program offers individuals a unique opportunity to become actively involved in the mission of Mill Mountain Zoo. Internships are available for motivated persons that have completed at least one year of college course work or college graduates seeking on the job experience. Internships provide practical experience in a zoological environment while gaining valuable knowledge related to his /her career goals. This exciting and challenging atmosphere offers the opportunity to supplement and apply classroom knowledge.


This position contributes to the success of the Mill Mountain Zoo by training individuals on job skills and practices relevant to keeper work at Mill Mountain Zoo, focusing on sound science and animal welfare/husbandry. Individuals will also have practice with guest encounters, helping to improve relationships between keepers and guests. Interns can expect to develop:

  • General understanding of the Mill Mountain’s Zoo dedication to fostering awareness and appreciation for wildlife.
  • General understanding of the Mill Mountain Zoo’s commitment to advancing public education on the need for wildlife conservation and preservation.
  • General understanding of the importance of zoos regarding endangered species survival and habitat preservation.
  • General knowledge of animal husbandry, enrichment, and dietary requirements of animals housed at the Mill Mountain Zoo.
  • General knowledge of animal behavior and disease prevention for animals at the zoo.
  • General knowledge of proper animal handling and restraint techniques.


Under supervision and direction of the Mill Mountain Zoo staff, interns will learn skills and techniques necessary to provide care for the animals at the Mill Mountain Zoo. They will participate in the upkeep of exhibits/enclosures, as well as zoo grounds, and interact with the visiting public during operating hours. The following duties and responsibilities are typically associated with the internship program. However, an intern may be called upon to do additional tasks not listed.

  • Animal Care: Daily husbandry, exhibit maintenance, supervised animal training, animal observations, diet preparation, animal enrichment, record keeping
  • Guest Interactions: Formal and informal interactions with Zoo guests through animal encounters, chats, tours, etc.
  • Project: All interns are required to complete an observation based research project as determined by the internship area
  • Research: Become familiar with Species Survival Plans (SSP) and other zoo population management strategies as well as natural history, current research, and conservation studies related to animals in the area of internship
  • Other related duties as assigned


Keeper internships are physically demanding. Interns may be working in small spaces or in awkward positions that require bending or stretching. Interns must be able to safely lift 50lbs. Keepers work in extreme weather conditions so interns must be able to tolerate heat, cold, snow, wind and rain. They must also be able to tolerate exposure to strong odors and allergens produced from hay, dust, and animal hair/feathers/dander.

Internships are generally 12 weeks long. Internship sessions are offered throughout the year, Summer (beginning June 1), Fall (beginning September 1), and Winter (beginning January 1). Consideration may be made for students attending classes. Interns must be flexible with their schedule and have the ability to work week days, weekends, and holidays.

Part-Time Internship

The part-time position requires a commitment of 24-25 hours a week. This can be accomplished in five 5 hour shifts per week or three 8 hours shifts per week. Applicant must be able to work any day of the week, including weekends. Work times are from 8 AM until 5 PM.

Full-Time Internship

This position requires a commitment of 40 hours a week. This can be accomplished by working five 8 hour days. Applicant must be able to work any day of the week, including weekends. Work times are from 8 AM until 5 PM.

  • Interns must have proof of a current Tetanus and negative TB test prior to start date.
  • All interns are required to complete a project of their choosing that will, in some way, benefit Mill Mountain Zoo.
  • Interns must have a strong desire to learn and be able to accept constructive criticism. They must have a basic, positive interest in animals and have good interpersonal skills.
  • This is an unpaid internship and interns are responsible for providing their own housing. If college credit is desired it is the responsibility of the intern to coordinate this with their academic institution.

If you are interested in applying for an internship with the Mill Mountain Zoo Animal Department please fill out this Internship Application and send it to Julia Franet-Hornbeck.

Stay Connected