ASHEBORO, NC ­­— Fresh off a record attendance in 2017 of 860,148, the North Carolina Zoo is seeking volunteers for the 2018 season.

“Our volunteers are the heart and soul of the North Carolina Zoo,” says Toy Lambeth, volunteer services coordinator. “They’re considered our front line, and their passion and dedication make them among our most valuable resources. They bring light and life to our many wonderful programs, projects and events as well as the daily activity within the Park.”

Volunteers have served nearly 713,000 hours since the program was conceived in 1983—the inaugural year’s docents numbered about 15. In the ensuing years, the program has expanded to include volunteers in education, horticulture, visitor services and special events, as well as caring for wildlife at the Valerie H. Schindler Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.


“There are many benefits to volunteering at the Zoo,” says Lambeth, “including training, Zoo discounts, behind-the-scenes tours, meeting others who share a similar passion and earning valuable service hours for college scholarship/service-based clubs or just gaining job experience.”


Youth who are interested may volunteer independently at the age of 16 with parental consent and at the age of 12 with a volunteer parent or legal guardian. Regardless of age, volunteers are asked to work a minimum of twice per month March through October, although some positions are year round. Orientation for new volunteers begins in late January and continues monthly through May.


“If you’re looking for fun, creative and rewarding ways to give back to our community, volunteering at the Zoo might be for you,” Lambeth says. “To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the North Carolina Zoo and to be notified of training dates, please visit and complete an online application.”


About the North Carolina Zoo

At the North Carolina Zoo, we celebrate nature. As the world’s largest natural habitat Zoo, we inspire a lifelong curiosity about animals for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit our Zoo each year. Our dedicated team of experts provides exceptional, compassionate care for the more than 1,600 animals and 52,000 plants that call our Park home. We also lead efforts locally and globally to protect wildlife and wild places because we believe nature’s diversity is critical for our collective future. The North Carolina Zoo invites all of our guests to witness the majesty of the wild in the heart of North Carolina and welcomes everyone to join in our mission to protect nature’s diversity. Visit to begin your life-changing journey.


About the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.


NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call 919- 807-7300 or visit