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Wild Encounters Team

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden - Cincinnati, Oh
Cincinnati, United States Posted: June 22, 2024

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is known for many things: our conservation efforts, our green initiatives, and our friendly staff, but did you know that we have a strong set of core values that make us the best team around and a Top Workplace in Cincinnati? We’re more than coworkers…we’re family. By building Collaborative Relationships, displaying Positivity & Energy, having Pride, Passion & a Sense of Ownership, supporting Accountability, Mutual Trust & Respect, and embracing Progressive Thinking, we have built a team of dedicated staff that focuses on our visitors, our community & our future.

  • This is what we believe and how we act.  If this gets you fired up, we look forward to having you join the team!
  • Working with the Wild Encounters program, you will have the opportunity to have hands-on experience in several different visitor engagement areas.
  • The goal of this unique department is to create genuine and memorable experiences for our visitors by bringing them "close enough to care" through animal stations, interactions, and chats. 
Primary Responsibilities: ​
  • The Wild Encounters team aims to inspire visitors with wildlife through facilitating interactive experiences throughout the zoo including, but not limited to:
  • Operating giraffe feedings, goat contact yard, Roo Valley, and other habitat areas.
  • Enthusiastically sharing facts and conservation messaging with visitors in inspiring and impactful ways.
  • Assisting with crowd management throughout the zoo, when needed. 
  • Hosting chats throughout the zoo, sometimes using microphones to relay animal information and conservation messaging.
  • Monitoring World of the Insect building and Butterfly Aviary.
  • Handling of ambassador animals, including reptiles, and arthropods, for public programming and private events.
  • Working collaboratively within a blended department of staff, volunteers, ZooTeens, and Interns. 
  • Upholding safety measures in animal contact stations and during animal encounters, as needed. 
  • Team members are expected to fulfill the above responsibilities while relentlessly pursuing and providing excellent visitor experience. 
Position Details:  
  • Pay rate: $14/hour
  • Our animal stations officially  run through October 31st, with additional shifts during our Festival of Lights season in November/December 2024 and Penguin Days in January/February 2025.
  • Shifts vary 7 days a week, with total hours varying between 25-40 hours per week, not to exceed an annual average of 30 hours per week. Hours are based on the season and zoo attendance. Some evening hours required with advance notice.
  • Employment is considered part time/non-benefited. 
  • Past animal handling and/or interpretation experience is desirable. Willingness to work amongst a variety of animal taxa, including reptiles and insects, is required.
  • Public speaking experience preferred. A desire to engage and inspire visitors of all ages is required. 
  • Have or working towards a degree in education or a life science (Zoology, Biology, Animal Science, etc.) required, or an equivalent combination of training and work experience.
  • A passion for conservation, education, wildlife, and an eagerness to make a difference in our natural world is required.
The Perks:
  • Pay rate is $14/hour, with performance based pay increases
  • PTO
  • Complimentary Zoo tickets & discounts
  • Incentive programs & employee engagement opportunities
  • Fun & engaging work environment & positive team culture
  • Free Metro Bus Pass provided for duration of employment
  • Personal & professional development opportunities
To apply: 
  • All qualified applicants should attach a Cover letter and resume to your online application.
  • Applications will be reviewed as they are received, with the intent of filling the position as soon as possible with the best candidate.  
Before applying, please note: 
  • Employment is contingent upon passing a post-offer, pre-employment drug & nicotine screen and satisfactory background investigation. 
  • While performing the duties of the job, the employee is regularly required to stand, walk, and push or pull carts. 
  • All employees of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden must wear a mask for the duration of their shift and while on grounds. (Subject to current COVID-19 policies.)
  • You must also show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID. 
  • Employees will be exposed to outside weather conditions year round and must be able to lift/move/carry up to 50 pounds without assistance. 
  • The ability to work a flexible schedule (including weekends and evenings) is required.
  • To be considered, candidates must be at least 18 years of age or older.
  • Position and hours vary seasonally based on visitor attendance and zoo operational needs. 
  • We strive to be an organization that is diverse and reflects the fullness of society. With a strongly held value for an organizational culture characterized by inclusion and belonging, we are committed to equity in all we do. We are especially interested in candidates who can contribute to our organization’s diversity and who want to walk alongside us in our commitment to inclusion and equity. 
  • $14/Hour

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