Junior Zookeeper

Fostering Inspiration through Exploration.

(Ages 12 to 17)

Stay tuned next Spring for information for teens during the Summer of 2015!

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Teen Programs provide meaningful life experiences that inspire teens to take conservation action both on and off zoo grounds through education, leadership, stewardship and environmental exploration.

These NEW Teen Programs combine hands on conservation, wildlife biology, outdoor adventure, community service, job skills, education, leadership and FUN!

We offer three teen program tracks, Zoo Crew Explorers, Teen Leaders and Teen Keepers, and each track has the option of participating in our Adventure Programming.


Programs Tracks

Zoo Crew Explorers (Ages 12-14)

Exploration, Conservation, and Adventure Stations: Engaging guests in different activities, games, and presentations focusing on Conservation and Education. Team building, nature skills and elements of outdoor recreation are just some examples of the Adventure Stations.

The Loft: Assisting the keepers with basic husbandry skills, program participants will interact with Zoo guests while preparing diets, making treats for the animals or creating fun crafts.

Summer Camp: Teens help with daily camp activities and gain valuable experience working with both children and animals as Junior Camp Counselors.

Face Painting and Button Making: Teens with a creative side will love the opportunity to artistically express their passion for animals. At our button cart, teens build a strong work ethic and public speaking through helping guests create and build their own personalized Cheyenne Mountain Zoo souvenirs.

Teen Leaders (Ages 15-17)

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is looking for responsible high school leaders who love animals, are interested in mentoring their younger peers, leading conservation initiatives and education programs, and acting as CMZ ambassadors. Teen leaders will gain valuable training including leadership, interpretive education, peer mediation, communication, child protection and animal handling.

This program will allow older teens to create their own path choosing projects and duties that interest them.

Possible duties based on teen’s interest:
Camp Counselor in Training: Assist camp counselors with leading the daily activities and helping zoo crew explorers.
Loft Interpretive Educator: Engage guests through the use of live animals, group lessons, and keeper talks.
Explorer Guide: Acting as a positive role model, teens will mentor the 11-14yr old Zoo Crew Explorers traveling from station to station teaching and assisting with guest interactions. As teen leaders are walking around the Zoo they will also help as guest navigators/Zoo ambassadors.

**Teens interested in participating in both Teen keeper and Teen Leader programs are encouraged to apply for both as a package.**

Teen Keepers (Ages 15-17)

As a teen keeper, participants with a love of animals will experience what it takes to be a zoo keeper. Provides teens with real-world experience working with our education, animal, and horticulture departments gaining knowledge of what exactly happens behind the scenes to make a zoo possible!

  • Gain personal Zoo experience so you can make informed career decisions.
  • Develop a strong work ethic and problem solving skills.
  • Acquire knowledge and skills surrounding animal care procedures alongside experienced animal keepers.


Beginner Animal Areas
Outback Yard: (My Big Backyard, Australia and Scutes Family Gallery)- Australian Animals
Commissary: Animal Diet Kitchen
Pony Rides

Intermediate Animal Areas
In intermediate animal areas Teen Keepers are responsible for helping clean exhibits, prepare food, create enrichment and assist with keeper talks.
Loft: small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds
African Rift Valley: meerkats, zebra, vultures, Red River hogs, African birds and tortoises.
Aquatics: hippopotamus, penguins, beavers, chickens, Rocky Mountain goats, aquatic animals and amphibians.
Primate World: gorillas, orangutans, siamangs, golden lion tamarins and naked mole rats.

Advanced Animal Areas
In advance animal areas Teen Keepers are responsible for helping clean exhibits, prepare food, create enrichment and assist with keeper talks. These areas involve a higher level of responsibility.
Giraffes: as well as African Lions
Monkey Pavilion/Bears: smaller primates as well as Asiatic and spectacle bears.
Conservation Highlands: tigers, snow leopards, Amur leopards, pallas cats, boreal toads and black-footed ferrets.
Rocky Mountain Wild: moose, mountain lions, wolves, lynx, porcupines, turkeys, grizzly bears and river otters.
Encounter Africa: elephants and a rhino.


Application Process

How to Apply

  1. Complete the Zoo Crew OR the Teen Keeper OR the Teen Leader online application.

  2. Write an essay to submit as part of your online application. Or, if you need more space, type your essay and mail it with your waiver form and reference letters to the address below.
    Applications are not considered complete until essay is received.

  3. Questions to address in your essay:

    All teens please answer:

    • Why do you want to be a Teen Volunteer?
    • What are your future career plans, goals and ambitions?
    • What do you hope to gain from this experience?

    **Additional questions for Teen Leader applicants only:

    • What experience do you have in education and leadership?

    • What makes you a good role model for your younger peers?

    Returning teen questions:

    • What is the most important thing you have learned about yourself since participating in the Teen Volunteer Program?
    • What was your most defining moment in the program so far? How did it impact you?
    • What do you hope to gain from this experience next summer?

  4. Download and complete the Release and Waiver of Claims Form. (After you submit your application online, return to our website using the link provided so you can complete this step.)

  5. Have two references print and complete the online Recommendation Form and submit via mail. Applications are not considered complete until we receive both Recommendation Forms.

Mail the two completed Recommendation forms and signed waiver form (along with the completed essay if you were unable to submit it online) to:
Community Programs Supervisor
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

After the application deadline, we will contact you to set up an interview.

*Please note that our Teen Programs are highly competitive and not all applicants will be selected. The application, essay, recommendation forms, interview skills, summer availability and prior experience will all contribute to the decision.*

All participants are required to have written record of a NEGATIVE TB test. TB tests need to be updated every year. Thank you for your help with this critical part of the Zoo’s Preventative Health Program.


Call 719.633.9925, ext. 127, or e-mail edprograms@cmzoo.org.

All Teen Programs - Application Process Flow

Dates and times to mark on your calendars for 2014 (These dates are subject to change).


All Teen Programs
Application Process Flow
Returning Teens Dates
New Teens Dates

Online Application

Due by March 17 Due by March 31

Essay Questions

Due by March 17 Due by March 31
2 Letters of Recommendation Due by March 17 Due by March 31

Release and Waiver of Claims Form

Due by March 17 Due by March 31


April 4, 5, 6 April 11, 12, 13


(Parents and Teens)


(Teens only: mandatory)


1st Day of All Zoo Teen Programs

(Schedules will be modified to accommodate school dismissal dates.)



Cheyenne Mountain Zoo 2014 Zoo Teens Program Fees

All fees includes two t-shirts, nametag and beverage cup, as well as daily supervision, program supplies and materials, Zookeeper talks and tours, special afternoon workshops and more.

The basic program fees break down to about $1.30 – $1.60 per hour of contact time over the summer. If you stay active throughout the summer there is the possibility of 100 or more hours of learning and adventure at the Zoo!

All Full Session Programs are for full summer (12 weeks).

Zoo Crew Explorer and Teen Leader Prices:
Returning Teens $352.50
New Teens $452.50

  • All on grounds activities
  • Two evening events
  • End of summer celebration

Teen Keeper Prices:
Full Session (12 weeks) $452.50

  • All on grounds activities
  • Two evening events
  • End of summer overnight
Half Session (6 weeks) $251.50
Weekends Only Session (15 days) $176.50

Note: $2.50 from each Teen Program Registration goes to Quarters for Conservation, which expands Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s regional and global conservation efforts.

Payment Options

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is committed to working with families to make sure price is not a limiting factor in their child’s experience. Please contact volunteer services for more information about our payment plans and scholarship opportunities at volunteer@cmzoo.org


Questions? Call 719.633.9925, ext. 127, or e-mail edprograms@cmzoo.org.