Discovery Guide FAQ

1. Why should I apply to the discovery guide program? Giving your time as a Discovery Guide is a fun way to advocate for the animals you love and prepare yourself for the future! In addition to helping our Education Department inspire zoo/aquarium visitors to care about wildlife and make smart choices that benefit the world's wild places, you will also develop professional skills while working in a fun environment full of people who share a common passion. Also, did we mention it's really fun?

2. Will I get the chance to handle animals in this program? While you will learn a lot about the animals on exhibit, as a Discovery Guide you will not have any physical contact with them.

3. Do I get paid to be a Discovery Guide? The Discovery Guide position is volunteer-based and unpaid. However, many volunteers apply the hours they spend in this program towards community service requirements for school. For information regarding paid part-time or full-time positions, please visit: or

4. How do I know if I am eligible to apply? If you are between the ages of 14 - 22, willing to facilitate education activities for zoo visitors of all ages, volunteer both indoors and outdoors regardless of weather, and can meet the training/program requirements, we encourage you to apply! While having some prior experience working in teams, with children, and providing customer service is a plus, it is not required!

5. How do I know what the program commitment is? The program commitment varies by season and WCS location. Refer to the Discovery Guide application, which lists all of the required program information including the schedule for training classes, program start and end, and the volunteer program schedule.

6. What happens after I submit my application? The Discovery Guide program is a highly competitive opportunity and each season, we receive an overwhelming number of applications compared to the number of available positions. Select applicants will be contacted by email and invited to a group interview. After the interview process is complete, select candidates will then be offered acceptance into the program.

7. I was accepted into the Discovery Guide program. Now what? Follow the specific directions in your acceptance email. In most cases, you will have to confirm your acceptance. After that, you will be sent specific instructions by email on where to go for your first day of training. The training course for the Discovery Guide program is normally 3-5 days long and will cover public speaking and customer service skills, an intro to WCS’s conservation work, and activities designed to increase knowledge and foster good relations among Discovery Guides. Discovery Guides who successfully complete the training course will begin their volunteer shifts shortly after the end of training.

Still have questions? You are also welcome to email us:

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