Zoo Docent

Do you like science, animals and people? If so, consider applying for our Zoo Docent program. Our zoo features tigers, Javan gibbons, wallabies, our friendly farm animals, small birds and mammals and much more! Zoo docents help us greet, interact with and educate our visitors in the zoo. Being a docent requires good people skills, a love of animals and the ability to retain information. You'll interact with our visitors during every shift and contribute to their positive experiences here at the GSC. You’ll share important conservation messages with our guests, an essential part of how we meet our mission to inspire scientific curiosity and encourage personal discovery about life and the natural world.

Zoo Docent

"There is always someone that will make you smile, a child or an adult that says something funny about the animals. The animals themselves can be funny and always are amazing to watch. I also love when I can share something about the animals at the Science Center that someone didn’t know. Sometimes I’ll have an adult or teacher in a group come back to tell me that one of the children shared information they heard from me. That is what we hope for, that information will be passed along. That I can be a small part of that experience for someone definitely makes volunteering fun and rewarding."

-Christine S., Zoo Docent since October 2013


Applications Posted

September Class*:
June 30

November Class**:
Sept. 1

Application Deadline

September Class*:
Aug. 25

November Class**:
Oct. 27

Interview/Scavenger Hunt Deadline

September Class*:
Sept. 1

November Class**:
Nov. 3

Class: 6:00 - 8:00p.m.

September Class*:
Sept. 7

November Class**:
Nov. 7

Post Class Assessment Deadline

September Class*:
Sept. 14

November Class**:
Nov. 14

Mentor Shift Deadline

September Class*:
Oct. 31

November Class**:
Dec. 31

Solo Shift Deadline

September Class*:
Dec. 15

November Class**:
Feb. 15

*Required to complete at least 1 shift in September. Expected to complete 6 hours per month starting in October.
**Required to complete at least 1 shift in November. Expected to complete 6 hours per month starting in December.

Zoo Docent Application


A docent is a volunteer educator. Docents are a visible part of the Greensboro Science Center team and interact directly with our visitors every day. Zoo docents have two main responsibilities: rotating through a mix of exhibit and contact areas and talking about important conservation messages related to our animals at each exhibit in the zoo. Our zoo program is hands on, with zoo volunteers learning to handle a variety of small mammals and reptiles.

Yes, but not in the way you might think. Zoo Docents do not have direct contact with animals other than the goats and sheep in Friendly Farm. Touching protocols for volunteers are the same as those for our guests. Animal care—including feeding, training, cleaning exhibits, etc.—is handled exclusively by professional staff. Instead, docents serve as animal educators by teaching our visitors about the animals in the touch tank and answering questions about other species in the aquarium. Docents do, however, learn about typical behaviors for our animals and are often the first to point out any irregularities to our staff. Our docents are our eyes and ears! NEW for 2018 will be an Animal Encounter Team opportunity, a selective program for Zoo Docents who have shown they are ready to handle small mammals, birds, reptiles and bugs at the Center. Zoo Docents must be 16 years old and have served for a minimum of 6 months before being eligible to apply for that program.
Zoo docents are expected to volunteer a minimum of six hours per month. The shifts are split up into three hour blocks of time. The shifts are 9:45 to 1:00 and 12:45 to 4:00. There are no shifts after 5:00 unless we have a special event or rental.
Docents must be at least 15 years old to apply. Applicants must be at least 15 years of age by September 7, 2017 to be considered for the September class or by November 7, 2017 to be considered for the November class. No exceptions will be made.
  1. Submit an application.
  2. Schedule and successfully complete an interview. All interviews must be completed by September 1 for the September class and November 3 for the November class. You will be given a fact sheet on some of our animals when your interview is scheduled. During the interview, we'll be looking for you to teach us something about the animal you choose just as you would when interacting with our visitors.
  3. Successfully pass a background check for those ages 18+.
  4. Complete one scavenger hunt to learn more about the Greensboro Science Center.
  5. Attend training on September 7 or November 7 from 6:00 to 8:00p.m. at the Greensboro Science Center.
  6. Complete an online assessment from home.
  7. Complete three mentor shifts with a veteran docent followed by an online assessment.
  8. Complete three solo shifts followed by an online assessment.
The fee for our docent program is $35.00. This includes the cost of your name tag and your volunteer t-shirt which you will wear during your shifts. The fee also helps defray the cost of running the program. That fee is due at the time of your entry into the program, NOT when you submit your application. This is a one-time docent fee. Once someone becomes a docent at our facility, they are eligible to take docent workshops for other areas pending good evaluations from staff in their current areas. The two docent areas include the Zoo and Aquarium.

Contact Us

Questions or comments? Email volunteers@greensboroscience.org or call 336-288-3769 x1330.