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About Us

Opened in 1970, Henson Robinson Zoo (HRZ) is managed by the Springfield Park District and is a proud member of the local community. The HRZ is committed to developing people’s capacities and competencies, serving as a mentor and trainer, providing experiential learning opportunities to individuals seeking to understand, develop, and establish careers in the fields of zoology and conservation. In fulfilling this role, HRZ’s Internship Program will allow students pursuing careers in the conservation field the opportunity to work side by side with zoo professionals, learning the skills and techniques necessary to manage exotic zoo animals. Our Internship Program is evolving to include internships and research opportunities in several fields.

HRZ Internship offers you:

- Mentoring and Coaching

- Training

- Hands-on, relevant, real experience

- Unique experiences in a diverse setting - Potential for college credit (please notify us of any work-study requirements)

Our Internship Opportunities:

Animal Programs Internship: Interns will work closely with zookeepers to learn the basic principles of husbandry and daily care for mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Daily shadowing will allow you to follow each species’ routine and will include habitat cleaning, exhibit set up, preparing environmental enrichment items, diet preparations and other varied rotational projects. Interns/externs are integral members of the keeper team. Interns will be able to use their creativity to implement a specialized project throughout the internship. Some of the past projects have been habitat furniture redecoration, enrichment device building and behavioral observations. There will also be opportunities to observe operant conditioning training sessions and observations of enrichment use. Interns must have a negative TB test.

Education Internships: Education department interns will assist in the instructors in preparing for and delivering programs for our education program participants. Program delivery types range from a single two-hour-long program to a multi-day experience. Interns will interact with children generally ranging in age from 5 to 15 years old.  The program participants will come from a variety of backgrounds and have a variety of needs; interns will help provide large group assistance and potentially one-on-one guidance as needed. Interns/externs will need to be comfortable working in various weather conditions (heat, rain, etc.) as well as be comfortable with scientific exploration such as dissections, live animal interactions and outdoor activities. This intern will have a flexible schedule that may require working evenings and weekends.

Mission Statement

To enhance the education of our community to wildlife and its conservation while providing an enjoyable and recreational experience. We shall achieve our mission by providing a variety of educational opportunities that increase the awareness of nature and our environment and by developing naturalistic exhibits that create a greater appreciation for wildlife.


Summer Term

May - Aug.

Deadline to Apply: February 28, 2022

Terms and Deadlines

Fall Term: October - December 2022

Application Deadline: July 31, 2022

Interview Window*: August 2022

Winter Term: January - April 2022

Application Deadline: October 31, 2022

Interview Window*: November 2022 

Summer Term: May - August 2022**

Application Deadline: February 28, 2022

Interview Window*: April 2022 

All dates are subject to change. Please check back often for updated opportunities.

*Interview dates may be somewhat flexible based on candidate’s needs

Minimum Requirements

✔ Completion of one (1) year of college or equivalent (approximately 24 credit hours)*
✔ Overall grade point average of 2.5 (out of 4.0)
✔ Be able to commit to time requirements of the program. Most programs are full time, 12 week terms (generally 5 days/week, 40 hours per week). Some internships may be open to a part time schedule; however, If all else is equal, an applicant who can commit to 40 hours a week will be given priority
✔ Have a sincere interest in the particular field of application

Completed applications must be received by 5pm (CST) on the deadlines listed above. Term start and end dates may be somewhat flexible based on student’s academic calendar. If an interview is desired to further consider the applicant for an internship opportunity, the applicant will be notified by e-mail. Selected interns must clear a full background check and drug test in order to begin. Offers are subject to this clearance.


For the welfare of employees and animals, proof of a current tetanus vaccination is required for all internships prior to the start of the internship assignment. In some animal areas, additional inoculations/tests may be required (measles, vaccine, TB test, etc.). All tests/vaccinations are at the applicant’s expense.

* Certain internships may offer flexibility on this. Inquire via email.

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