ZooTeens & ZooTeen Leaders


The ZooTeens program, which began in 1993, gives young adults the opportunity to explore their interests in ecology and conservation. The unique training ZooTeens receive engages them in the sciences and also provides activities that foster self-esteem and encourage positive social interactions.

A typical ZooTeen day begins with a team meeting when we share daily successes and challenges. We then break up into small groups and go to our starting station. Throughout the day ZooTeens rotate through stations located throughout the Zoo, educating the public about various conservation topics and inviting them to participate in art making and activities. Station activities include the use of animal artifacts (biofacts), educational games, and guiding questions to help spread our message of conservation for wildlife and wild places.

Who: Any teen who has completed 7th through 12th grade at the start of the summer can apply to be a summer ZooTeen. You do not need to know a lot about animals! Just be ready and excited to learn, eager to make new friends and gain public speaking skills talking with our visitors.

Where: Seneca Park Zoo

When: During the summer, ZooTeens must participates in the program for a minimum of two days per week, 9:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. The program runs seven days a week. We can accommodate teen schedules and work around summer jobs and vacations.

If this is your second year as a ZooTeen, we invite you to participate in special experiences.

  • Shadow summer education interpreters and camp counselors.
  • Accompany Zoo staff on ZooMobile visits and Butterfly Beltway programs.
  • Other activities like creating a newsletter, staffing stations at Rochester Red Wings baseball games, and taking science-based field trips.
  • Tell us your ideas for other activities!


Participants are required to have just completed 7th through 12th grade at the start of the summer. Please note: Summer ZooTeens do not handle live animals, but will have the opportunity to be around our animals all day. Education animals, may be handled by our ZooTeen Leaders at stations throughout the summer as well.


There is a fee of $75, due upon acceptance, to participate in the ZooTeen Program. This fee covers the cost of:

ZooTeen T-shirt
End-of-season picnic


2016 ZooTeen applications are now closed. Applications for next year will be available in March 2017.

ZooTeen interviews: May

ZooTeen training dates: Two Saturdays in June

ZooTeen program dates: July 5 through August 21

ZooTeen Leaders

The ZooTeen Leaders program encourages teens in grades 9-12 to become a force for conservation and education and to be stewards of the Earth’s natural resources. The program empowers teens by equipping them with the resources and skills needed to be ambassadors for the environment. This program also provides teens the opportunity to explore the vast array of career opportunities within the Zoo, in conservation and animal sciences.

The ZooTeen Leaders program is a year-long opportunity to learn at the Zoo through activities designed by and for youth, focusing on communication skills, career development and conservation, based on local and global environmental issues. Participants attend weekly meetings and work on projects that develop team-building, communication skills and conservation knowledge. ZooTeen Leaders are mentors for the summer ZooTeen program, developing training for ZooTeens and content for ZooTeen summer stations.

Who: Students entering 9th through 12th grade are invited to apply.

Where: Seneca Park Zoo.

When: The program runs mid-October through mid-August. Meetings will happen once a week on weeknights and occasional weekend days from October through June. ZooTeen Leaders will participate in the ZooTeen summer program, volunteering two full days at the Zoo for six weeks from July through August.


Participants are required to have experience as a ZooTeen before applying and should be entering grades 9-12.


There is a fee of $125, due upon acceptance, to participate in the ZooTeen Leaders Program. Payment plans are available. This fee covers the cost of the summer ZooTeen program in addition to:

Guest speakers
ZooTeen Leader polo shirt
Field trips


Returning ZooTeens:

Applying for the first time:

ZooTeen Leader Interviews: October

ZooTeen Leader program dates: mid-October through end of August


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