Whether exploring the natural backwoods of Illinois, talking to zoo guests about dolphins, or researching penguin DNA, the Chicago Zoological Society's Career Ladder has something for you!
Youth from the Chicagoland area are taking advantage of the Career Ladder to learn about the zoo’s animals and exhibits, make new friends, go to different natural areas and cool places, and get connected with jobs in the summer. Kids and teens make their way through Brookfield Zoo, following their own interests and enthusiasm.
There are currently five rungs on the Career Ladder:
ZAP!—Zoo Adventure Passport!
(Open to families with children ages 3-12)
Come join the fun at the Chicago Public Library (Rudy Lozano, West Belmont, and Logan Square branches only) or the Maywood Public Library to explore our world through games, fun activities, and crafts. You'll receive a passport at the first program which you can get stamped each time you come to ZAP! Attend three or more programs to be invited to attend Brookfield Zoo on ZAP! Family Days.
Kids’ Club—Explore Science After School
(Open to students grades 6-8)
Join a Kids’ Club at the Chicago Public Library (Rudy Lozano and West Belmont branches only) or the Maywood Public Library to participate in fun, hands-on science and nature-related activities. All Kids’ Club activities are free, and members meet once a month, from October through April. Each Club has up to 20 participants at each location.
Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) — Serving Brookfield Zoo and Making Friends
(Open to students entering grades 9-12)
If you enjoy meeting and working with other teens, learning about animals, and talking to people about nature, then YVC may be for you! YVC offers teens the opportunity to discover conservation, wildlife, and science through one of two tracks. Youth Volunteers must attend all training sessions and volunteer at least 120 hours per year. Learn more about becoming a Youth Volunteer!
Paid Positions—Career Ladder teens are eligible to apply for a variety of summer seasonal jobs in the zoo’s Education Department. As well, YVC teens can apply for other seasonal job opportunities at Brookfield Zoo.
College Scholarships—As a Career Ladder member who is majoring in a conservation-related field, you can apply for special scholarships awarded by the Chicago Zoological Society’s Women’s Board.
Brookfield Zoo is a great place to learn about careers in conservation, help our guests, and learn more about this planet’s wildest and most diverse animals.
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Chicago Zoological Society, 3300 Golf Rd, Brookfield, IL 60513