Youth Programs

The Chattanooga Zoo believes strongly in the idea that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. As such, we feel it is imperative that they are exposed and educated regarding the care for and conservation of animals. The Chattanooga Zoo offers various youth opportunities for teens including; Zoo Club, Educational Zoo Opportunities (E.Z.O.) and our Counselor in Training Program (C.I.T).

Application Deadlines:

- Counselor In Training: April 19th
- Zoo Club Fall Semester: August 1st
- Zoo Club Spring Semester: January 1st 

Zoo Club

Zoo club is a youth program built for young adolescents ages 12 to 15. The goal of Zoo Club is to allow youth to experience how the animal kingdom works through interpretation, crafts, and hands on experience at the Chattanooga Zoo. There are 25 spots available for this program and classes run from 9 am – 1:30 pm August through April on the third Saturday of every month. The price to participate in this program is $50 per semester. Scholarships and financial assistance are available.

Applications will be posted here in June for the following August Club. 

For more information, please contact Education Curator, Garrett Skipper, at: 423.697.1387


EZO is a hybrid course that teaches teenagers ages 15 and 16 the importance of the environment to humanity as well as Zoo daily functions. Participants are also taught how our Zoo fits within the greater Chattanooga community which surrounds it. For instance, one week the lesson would be on the subject of recycling. The reason why recycling is important and activities that reduce and reuse waste through the Zoo are discussed and implemented. There are 25 spots available for this program and classes run from 9 am – 1:30 pm August through April on the fourth Saturday of every month. The price to participate in this program is $90. Scholarships and financial assistance are available.

Counselor in Training (C.i.T)

Under direct supervision of Summer Camp Staff and the Camp Director, Counselors in Training will work with our summer camp staff assisting with games, child management, crafts, and the overall workings of camp. Camps run through June and July. 

Applications must be submitted by 4/19.

 C.i.T. Application 

  • Must have a friendly attitude
  • Enjoy working with children
  • Be able to play active games
  • Must be able to work unsupervised, follow 2-3 step directions and accomplish tasks on time
  • Work environment may be hot at times, sometimes exceeding 98 degrees
  • Attend at least 1 training session supplies by the Zoo
  • Age: 15 & up


Chattanooga Zoo Job Shadow

Are you a high school student looking to gain a little experience on the vast Animal Kingdom world? Are you required by your school to spend some time learning about potential careers? Here is your opportunity.

Come join us as the Chattanooga Zoo provides opportunities for high school students to come to the Zoo and work along-side staff members and go through what it is like working at the Zoo. Valuable lessons will be learned during each program and students will gain insight on a potential career field.

What is a Job Shadow?

During a job shadow, depending on the availability, a student will get to shadow and help a keeper with creating diets for animals, preparing enrichment, assist with cleaning or helping with other Zoo projects.

When are Job Shadows available?

Job Shadows run 9:00am-12:00pm. Shadows are available at set dates or if set up at least 2 weeks in advance, a shadow may be granted.

What do I need to bring?

You will need to bring the necessary waivers and documents attached to this form. A smile and a good attitude are especially required when Job Shadowing. It also would be a good idea to bring a list of questions to ask the staff throughout the day.

What is the dress code?

  • It would be a good idea to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and hats or gloves if it’s cold.
  • No open toed or open heeled shoes.
  • Jackets must be appropriate having no offensive graphics and must be neat.
  • Hair, mustaches, and beards are to be neat and clean. Not flamboyant.
  • Tattoos must be covered and must not be visible.
  • No visible body piercings, except for the ears.

Who can apply?

Only students in grades 9-12 can apply for job shadowing.

When should I apply?

At least 2 weeks ahead of your suggested Job Shadow date. A minimum one page MLA Format essay must be submitted about “Why you want to Job Shadow at the Zoo” with the application. Participants will be processed and notified of approval after review by a staff member.

Is there any costs?

There is a $10 fee for job shadows. Payment is accepted in the gift shop the day of shadow. 

You may apply by completing our online Job Shadow Application.


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