The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park works to be a leader and resource in Northern New York for conservation and education about our natural world. We aim to provide exciting and interactive programs with a goal of inspiring our community to become more involved in the preservation of our planet. The Zoo is now the second most visited attraction in the Thousand Islands Region, attracting nearly 50,000 visitors per year and is supported by over 800 member households reaching nearly 10,000 members of our community through educational programs. Our mission at the New York State Zoo continues to move forward – always with a goal of inspiring conservation, education, and family oriented programs.

  • February 23rd – April 6th


  • July 6th – August 17th


  • FALL:
  • October 5th – November 16th
  • REGISTRATION DUE: September 14th
Native Wildlife Internship

Our Mission:

The Thompson Park Zoo is dedicated to providing natural world experiences that foster an appreciation of the Empire State's ecosystems through conservation, education, scientific study and responsible recreation.

  • Description:
  • Interns at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park provide daily care for native New York species including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates that are, or once were, endemic to the region.
  • Interns will gain experience in animal diet preparation, daily husbandry, enrichment applications, animal behavior observations, veterinary rounds observations, recordkeeping, and effective workplace communication.
  • This internship is an unpaid experience that will provide invaluable field knowledge and resume building opportunities.


The Native Wildlife Internship requires 96 hours of participation. These hours are assigned over a 6 week period for 2 days per week. There are 3 rotations within this time, each rotation is 2 weeks long. Interns are required to complete 2 full days per week from 8AM – 5PM with breaks and a 1 hour lunch each day. If you are not able to accommodate this schedule then adjustments may be made on a case-by-case basis.

  • Spring
Monday or Tuesday       +       Saturday or Sunday
  • Summer / Fall
Tuesday or Thursday       +       Saturday or Sunday

Essential Duties: Applicants must be prepared to work with a wide range of animals, including potentially dangerous species such as large mammals, carnivores, and venomous reptiles. Interns will be required to complete assignments, to work alongside Zoo staff to perform daily husbandry routines, and to work in all kinds of weather.

 Experience Required:

  • High School Diploma
  • Minimum 1 year of higher learning in zoological science
  • Preferred A.S.+ completed in zoological science
  • Additional Considerations:
  • Tetanus vaccination required
  • TB test and/or rabies vaccination encouraged
  • Northern New York is known to experience harsh winters. If you are applying for a Spring internship then you should be prepared to work through ALL weather conditions and will be expected to dress appropriately. If there are severe weather warnings or city-wide travel advisements then exceptions will be made, however, if our zookeepers are working then our scheduled interns will be expected to accompany them.
  • Interns are required to create a video presentation upon completion of their internship. The staff at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park will work cooperatively with each intern to utilize the materials and/or animals on grounds to help create a unique and professional presentation.

  • Applicants should submit the completed application form along with a resume and cover letter
  • via mail or e-mail to the Curator of Conservation Education:
  • 1 Thompson Park
  • Attn: Renee Mullenax
  • Watertown, NY 13601
  • (315) 755-0896