Best Zoo Job Perks

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Zoo related career paths often offer a variety of perks in addition to the standard salary package.  Here are ten of the most desirable job perks that may be offered to zoo professionals:

Free Admission Passes

Zoos often provide unlimited free admission for employees and members of their immediate family. Some zoos also offer a specific number of guest passes per year for friends of employees, or they may offer a discounted “friends and family” rate on such passes.

This can be a great perk, especially for employees with children.


Most zoos provide branded uniform shirts and hats for their employees, and many also provide professional laundering of these uniforms at the zoo’s expense. Zoos may also provide a uniform allowance for non-branded work attire like khakis, coveralls, and boots. Some also provide additional zoo branded apparel as employee gift items or incentives for outstanding performance.

Tuition or Continuing Education Reimbursement

Zoos are heavy promoters of continuing education, so educational costs may be covered for employees when they seek to maintain professional certifications or improve their knowledge in the field. Zoos may also offer on-site training classes to educate their employees, bringing in respected professionals to provide seminars or practical training.

Flexible Schedule

Zoos have employees on site 24 hours each day, and there are often multiple shift options available for staff members that need a flexible schedule.

Workers are always needed during the zoo’s public hours of operation, but many jobs require staff members to be on duty in the early hours of the morning as well as late into the evening.

Discounts on Zoo Purchases

Most zoos offer significant employee discounts on gift shop merchandise, meals, tickets for friends, and other purchases made on site.

They may also offer discounts at “sister organizations” like local aquariums and museums through reciprocity agreements with those institutions.

Opportunity to Earn Overtime Pay

A zoo has to be staffed around the clock as mentioned previously, so this means there are many opportunities for earning overtime compensation. It is common for zoo workers to be scheduled for more than the standard 40 hour work week. This results in additional overtime income for employees that are compensated on the basis of an hourly rate. Evening, weekend, and holiday hours may also command a slightly higher rate of compensation at some zoos.

Beautiful Work Environment

Most zoo employees get to work in a beautifully manicured park setting, and even those who work in the zoo office are treated to beautiful views each day. This unique work atmosphere is highly valued by zoo staffers, and they have the opportunity to see the animals during hours when the park is not open to the public.

Staff Events

Zoos tend to offer a wide variety of activities for staff members including training classes, team building exercises, and private zoo events (like barbecues and picnics). These special events help to promote a positive work environment.

Opportunity to Advance

Zoo keeper may be the first position that comes to mind when you think of zoo career paths, but the zoo team has many layers of management and support staff that work both with animals and on business affairs. Positions can range from landscape maintenance staff to the zoo director and everything in between. There is often the opportunity to move up the ladder into other roles. Employees can also readily transfer from one zoo to another once they have developed the requisite skill set.

Getting to Work with Exotic Animals

The opportunity to work with exotic wildlife is a perk that many animal lovers find highly desirable. Zoo jobs are often cited as “dream jobs” for animal lovers, and having direct access to the zoo’s diverse collection of animals is a huge benefit in and of itself.