Animal Keeper Apprentice


The Brandywine Zoo is seeking a dynamic and engaging person to join our team! We are searching for a qualified and dedicated candidate to fill a 1 year Animal Keeper Apprenticeship. This is a full time, 37.5-hour a week volunteer position with stipend. This person will work directly alongside senior zookeeper staff in the Animal Care Department of the Zoo. The Brandywine Zoo is proudly accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). 

The Animal Keeper Apprentice will be paired with a keeper mentor and function as a member of the animal care team independently once trained. This unique opportunity will offer the chance to gain valuable knowledge and skills relevant to animal husbandry and welfare in AZA accredited zoological institutions. This is a hands-on position and the apprentice will be expected to be involved in all facets of our small zoo including animal nutrition, veterinary care, exhibit maintenance, facility maintenance and landscaping. 

Location: Brandywine Zoo – Wilmington, DE

Term: Year-round – 37.5 hours per week (equates to 5 days/week)

Daily Hours: 8AM-4PM ability to work weekends and holidays required

Direct Supervisor: Assistant Curator

Stipend: $100/week

Housing: Limited, free, dorm style housing is available on a first come first serve basis.


  • Applicants must be working toward or already have a degree in Animal Science, Pre-Vet, Zoology, Wildlife Conservation, or other related degrees.
  • Applicants must have a strong interest in pursuing a professional career in animal husbandry and zoo animal management.
  • Applicants must exhibit consistent professional characteristics such as a positive attitude, ability to listen to instruction, ability to show initiative, emotional maturity and self-responsibility.
  •  Applicants must work well as part of a team as well as independently.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with previous internship experience at an AZA accredited zoo.


  • At least 18 years old with valid driver’s license and reliable transportation
  • Provide proof of negative TB Test within the last 12 months before start date
  • Good physical condition: ability to stand/walk for extended periods of time, kneel, crouch and climb in all weather conditions on uneven terrain
  • Be able to lift up to 50 pounds with little to no assistance
  • Fluent in the English language (verbal and written communication)
  •  Willing and able to safely work with a variety of live animals, including reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals
  • Have good organizational and time management skills
  • Willing and able to read and follow verbal and written work instructions
  • Willing and able to assist with administrative, customer relations, and housekeeping tasks
  • Comfortable with public speaking to both large and small audiences of all ages
  • Able to commit to upholding all Zoo safety and personnel policies, and support the overall zoo mission


  • Care, feeding and cleaning of animals and exhibits
  • Diet preparation
  • Exhibit maintenance and repair
  • Basic grounds keeping and cleaning
  • Basic operant condition training under the guidance of Training Coordinator
  • Participate in and deliver keeper talks and other public programming
  • Extensive public interaction
  • Record Keeping both written and electronic
  • Complete a project of the apprentice’s own design, and approved by zoo staff, during the internship period


  • Training: Apprentices receive in depth on the job training from the zoo experts they will be working with. Apprentices are also enrolled in the San Diego Zoo Global Online Learning Academy with free access to hundreds of online courses relevant to zoo and aquarium animal care and management. Additionally, the position will develop critical skills for those interested in a career in conservation, animal management, or ecological studies. Opportunities for school credit are available.
  • Housing: Limited co-ed housing is available, at no fee, for apprentices providing full-time hours (37.5 hrs. per week). If selected for housing, an apprentice will share a furnished house, duplex or dorm facility with other interns.
  • Activities: Apprentices will have the opportunity not only to visit ALL Delaware State Parks at no fee, but also participate in many of the tours, programs, and associated events for free. Delaware State Parks span the length of the state and whether it is canoeing at Trap Pond State Park, surfing at Delaware Seashore State Park, attending a concert at Bellevue State Park, or touring the living history facility at Fort Delaware, there is certainly something for everyone. Zoo apprentices will have the opportunity to visit nearby zoos and shadow keeper staff as well as participate in our local American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) chapter activities.
  • Stipend Available: Apprentices are not employees of the State of Delaware- they are considered volunteers and are not paid for their service. Apprentices may elect to receive a stipend to help cover expenses incurred during their volunteer intern service. The stipend is a fixed amount of $100 per week for service of 30 or more hours per week paid biweekly as a direct deposit into the Intern’s bank account.
    • The stipend is not a wage, but does count toward the total income on which the intern’s tax obligation is based. Interns electing to receive the stipend will complete IRS Form W-9 Request for Tax-Payer Identification as self-employed and will receive a Form 1099 at the end of the year that reports the amount of income from the stipend. No taxes are withheld from the stipend. 

All Delaware State Parks Interns are required to undergo and successfully complete a background check performed by the Division. 

TO APPLY: Delaware State Parks Internship Program Application