Zoo Keeper for a Day

Chattanooga Zoo's Keeper for a Day program is a new educational offering that gives teens and adults a firsthand look at working in a zoo. Come spend the day helping zookeepers with their daily routines of food preparation, cleaning and animal care. Don’t miss your chance to feed grapes to a red panda, clean a snow leopard exhibit, or play with an exotic monkey! Whether you're considering a career in Zookeeping or have always wanted to spend some time with your favorite animal, this exclusive behind-the-scenes program is a once in a lifetime experience.

Program Information

  • Programs are offered on Wednesdays or Saturdays. If interested in participating and observing and participating in veterinary visits an additional $45 charge applies to fee and visit must be scheduled for a Wednesday.
  • Cost: $200 for members, $250 for non-members. Cost includes Keeper for a Day behind-the-scenes activities, Zoo admission, lunch, T-shirt, keeper end of the day debrief and experience souvenir package.
  • Participants must be at least 12 years old. Participants 12 years old or older but younger than 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Cost for adult/children combinations are $375 for members and $425 for non-members. Participants must also be able to climb a flight of stairs, able to lift up to 25 pounds repeatedly and willing to work in all weather conditions.
  • Registration is required at least two weeks in advance of program date and full payment must be made at time of registration.
  • Due to the hands-on nature of this program, group size is limited to 2 participants per session.
  • Participants will be given an program orientation package that must be reviewed and completed prior to program participation.
  • Programs involving the Zoo’s animal collection are subject to change; therefore, we cannot guarantee you will work with specific animals during the program.

For more information or to register please call: 423.643.5703 or email info@chattzoo.org.

All About Zoo Keeper for a Day

What should I wear?

During the program, you will be inside and outside. Please dress comfortably for the day and appropriately for the weather. Programs will take place rain or shine. A t-shirt and nametag will be provided for participants to wear during the program. Participants must wear both of these items during the program. Participants will have time to change before the start of the program. Participants can wear a long-sleeved shirt under the t-shirt if the outside temperature is cold.

Please wear khakis or jeans. Shorts are allowed during summer months. Wear comfortable shoes that are close-toed such as tennis shoes or work boots. Old shoes are best since you will get dirty. Flip-flops and sandals should not be worn, as they will prevent participants from entering the behind-the-scenes areas that are part of the program.

What do I need to bring?

Plan to bring a water bottle and a morning snack if you will get hungry before lunch. Lunch will be provided as part of the program. Participants with dietary restrictions are encouraged to let Chattanooga Zoo staff know in advance so appropriate arrangements can be made.

May I bring a camera?

To insure the safety of all involved, camera usage is prohibited during the Keeper for a Day program. However, at the end of the program you will receive a complimentary photo of your experience. Additional photos can be ordered for a fee at that time.

What should I know about working with the animals?

Although our animals are trained to work with their human caregivers, they are still wild animals and their behavior is unpredictable. It is important that you pay close attention to the guidance and instructions of Zoo staff. Never enter any animal area without direction from the keeper. Always wait for instructions and authorization from the keepers before approaching any of the animals while participating in training and feeding sessions. You must avoid touching the animals unless instructed to touch by the keepers. In addition, please note that participants who work around carnivores will be exposed to raw meat.

Are there any restrictions to participating?

Due to animal health regulations, participants that were out of the country 7 days prior to the program will not be able to participate. Participants are expected to follow all rules and instructions of Zoo staff. Anyone not following instructions may be asked to leave the program without refund. Please note that behind-the-scenes areas are not handicapped accessible.


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