If you've been looking for a truly unique volunteer opportunity, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has the event for you -- Volunteer Safari!
The Safari is a three-hour information session that highlights volunteer opportunities at the Zoo. This year, the Volunteer Safari is set for 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 2 and 5. To make a reservation for one of the two sessions, call (216) 635-3395 or (216) 635-3391.
After the orientation, potential volunteers fill out an application and do a short interview with Zoo staff. If you're accepted into the program, there is a mandatory two-day Service Volunteer Training Course held a few weeks after the Safari. There is a nominal fee for the course to cover training materials and a volunteer shirt.
"Our volunteers are integral to the Zoo's success," said Lynn Charles, manager of volunteer services. "They give the Zoo personality and visibility to visitors, and have a great time doing it. It's the most meaningful fun you'll ever have."
Last year, the Zoo's 400 volunteers generously donated more than 40,000 hours of service. Their time and dedication are crucial factors in providing an enjoyable experience for Zoo visitors. They answer questions, give directions and are general ambassadors for the Zoo. Volunteers man the information booths, assist at special events like Boo at the Zoo and Noon Year's Eve, help staff at overnight events and even work in the Zoo's library.
Zoo volunteers commit to donating 40 service hours and four continuing education hours per year. Benefits include free admission to the Zoo and RainForest, discounts at the gift shop and select concession stands, volunteer appreciation events, a subscription to the volunteer newsletter, special notifications of animal births and exhibit openings and the opportunity to meet new people and contribute to the Zoo's conservation efforts.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Discounted winter admission through March 31 is $7 per person, $5 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 77, 90 and 480.