Zoo Teens

Zoo Teens

Who are Zoo Teens?

Being a Zoo Teen Zoo Teens are a group of 13-17 year olds that are interested in wildlife, conservation, and working with others. Zoo Teens share their passions with our zoo guests in a variety of ways.

They may be at an exhibit sharing information about animals and conservation. Perhaps, they’ll be helping with our educational camps for younger children or 

No matter what a Zoo Teen is doing, they are always having a good time, while providing an invaluable service to the zoo, the animals, and to wildlife and wild places.

What are the requirements to be a Zoo Teen?

  • Between 13 and 17 years old by Jan 1st
  • Pay a $50 Zoo Teen tuition that covers training materials and Zoo Teen t-shirt
  • Pay a $25 refundable “Good Standing” deposit
  • Commit to a minimum of 100 hours between June and August
  • Commit to working Ice Cream Safari plus one additional summer event
  • Have a current TB skin test and tetanus vaccination

How to become a Zoo Teen?

ALL Teens must complete the Zoo Teen application. In addition, new Zoo Teens must submit a minimum of two recommendations (teachers, school staff, or community leaders are recommended).

Applications open February 1 and all applications and recommendations forms are due by April 15. Applications are reviewed in April and candidates demonstrating their enthusiasm for the zoo and for wildlife and conservation will be notified by the end of April and invited to Zoo Teen training in late May.

The Zoo Teen Timeline

All Zoo Teens begin with a summer semester.

February 1 – April 15 – Applications received. Zoo Teens notified of acceptance into the program on a rolling basis. 

May 12MANDATORY meeting for all Zoo Teens and PARENTS

June, July, August – Zoo Teen summer semester

June 1 – Dream Night

July 14 – Ice Cream Safari

July 19 – Zoo Teen End of Summer Party

July 28 – Global Tiger Day

August – Exceptional Zoo Teens invited to apply for year-round Zoo Teen volunteering opportunities.

Zoo Teen Information Sheet


Zoo Teen Applications

What to do to complete your Zoo Teen Application

  1. Read the requirements of the zoo teen programs.
  2. Read the entire Zoo Teen application to be sure you know the pieces you will need to complete.
  3. Complete the application with all needed information. Answer the essay questions.
    • Identify two references and have them complete the Zoo Teen Reference Form.
    • References should be adults (18 years or older) who know you well, but are not related to you (teacher, family friend, etc.)
    • Give your references the forms at least two weeks before April 15.
    • Here is a sample of a letter to help you when your reference. Remember to tell your reference about the program, where they can get information about the program, and where to get the reference forms (this website). References can now fill out an online form. Direct them to this page to get the reference form link.
  5. Ask questions. Contact us with any questions about the application or program requirements at 601-352-2580 ext 240.
Zoo Teen Application Zoo Teen Reference Sheet


Zoo Teen FEES

There is a $50 non-refundable Zoo Teen Program fee that is due at the beginning of service.  This fee covers all Zoo Teen program costs including their t-shirts and end of year party.

An additional $25 Good Standing deposit is collected per Zoo Teen. This deposit will be returned to you after your Teen completes 100 hours of service and two summer events both in good standing.  The Jackson Zoo can retain this deposit based on behavior and conduct. Zoo Teens are responsible for adding up their hours each week to track time served.