Lined Seahorse

Lined Seahorse

Seahorses are a mix of many different parts and abilities of other animals. They have the head of a horse, the snout of an aardvark, spines like a puffer fish, a pouch of a kangaroo, eyes like a lizard, the tail of a monkey and the ability to change colors like a chameleon.

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Jobs & Internships

Job seekers interested in permanent employment for animal care or labor and maintenance should complete a county application, located on the county website: Thank you.

Paid Positions

HR Manager/Executive Assistant to the President

Friends of the Zoo seeks an organized, highly skilled professional who is the unflappable energy behind managing the President's office and the human resources functions of one of the top not-for-profits in the region. Offering a unique environment, this position is ideal for the candidate who is mission/results driven and is inspired by furthering the vision and future of one of the community's beloved assets, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

Reporting directly to the President and CEO the successful candidate will create a highly effective one-on-one relationship with the President, support the work of the Board of Directors and manage the HR functions of a small not-for-profit ensuring compliance with federal and state laws and administration of all personnel matters.

Skills/Knowledge Required:

  • Proficiency in full Microsoft Office suite, internet, and email.
  • Ability to utilize computers and other technology (e.g., FAX, copiers, digital recording technology)
  • Working knowledge of EEO, AA, ADA, FMLA, FLSA, and other federal and state HR laws
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality in all professional matters
  • Strong time-management and multi-tasking skills
  • Attention to detail and strong organizational skills
  • Strong oral and written communication skills with staff, trustees, visitors, participants, and others to whom you represent the institution
  • Strong work ethic and a professional and positive attitude
  • Ability to work alone or as a team member to facilitate project completion
  • Desired qualifications:
  • B.A./B.S. in Business Administration or related area and two years' experience in administration OR minimum five years' experience in administration and office management
  • Minimum two years' experience in human resource management including benefits and compensation, labor law, and personnel records management. Course work in Human Resources can be used in lieu of one year's experience.
  • Experience working with board governance and with non-profit organizations preferred

Background check completion is a requirement for employment.

This exempt full-time position includes a comprehensive benefits package.

Salary DOE.

Click here to view complete job description.

Please send your cover letter and resume with three business references by email to or mail to:

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attn: HR/Employment
One Conservation Place
Syracuse, N.Y. 13204

No Phone Calls Please!


Customer Service Representative/Membership Desk

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo seels a part-time employee to fill an open position at our membership desk 24-29 hours per week, including weekends, from 9:45 to 4:30; days may vary.

Additional days may be required for seasonal and/or vacation coverage.

Rate of pay is $8.75/hr.

This candidate must have proficient computer skills, ability to handle cash/credit card transactions and have excellent customer service skills both written and verbal.

Candidate must be able to lift 50 lbs.

Background check completion is a requirement for employment.

Click here to view complete job description.

Please apply in person at the membership desk between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., by email at or mail to:

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attn: HR/Employment
One Conservation Place
Syracuse, N.Y. 13204

No Phone Calls Please!



Assistant Gift Shop Manager

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo seeks a friendly, energetic, team-oriented, full-time assistant manager for our unique gift shop.

This position requires the individual to work closely with the manager/buyer and sales associates on a daily basis. The assistant manager will interact with vendors, handle invoice reconciliations, data input and inventory control. This individual will also train new hires, process shipments, merchandise product accordingly and offer customer service to our guests.

The assistant manager will have a set schedule, including at least one weekend day, but needs to remain flexible. Some holidays and only very limited evenings are required.

The successful candidate will have proven supervisory/management skills, inventory control/computer experience, ability to work in a high-volume retail setting, and a demonstrated history of successfully working with staff and the public.

Full-time, non-exempt position with a comprehensive benefits package in one of the most unique settings in Syracuse.

Compensation in the range of $10-$12/hr. DOE

Background check completion is a requirement for employment.

Click here to view complete job description.

Please submit cover letter, resume and three professional references by e-mail to or mail to:

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attn: HR/Employment
One Conservation Place
Syracuse, N.Y. 13204

No Phone Calls Please!



The Rosamond Gifford Zoo and Friends of the Zoo offer animal-related internships, as well as internships in our marketing, event planning and education departments. Unless otherwise noted, internships are unpaid.

Graphic Design Intern

The graphic design internship provides college-level students with practical learning experiences in the areas of advertising and graphic design. This internship supports the zoo's marketing department with projects such as print and online advertising, posters, flyers, booklets, brochures, large-scale displays, signage and web support. The intern will also assist with tasks and activities that support marketing initiatives and special event promotions to increase public awareness and excitement for the zoo and its programs. Internship is unpaid.

Applications are accepted year-round. Please submit your resume, cover letter and portfolio samples via email to Maria Simmons, director of marketing, at Now accepting applications.

Event Planning Intern

Event planning internship inquiries should be directed to Jim Mahler, director of food & beverage, at Internship is unpaid.

Animal Department Internship

Animal-related internship inquiries should be directed to Nate Stevens, at

Available blocks and applicable deadlines are as follows:



January-May 2015

December 1, 2014

May-August 2015

April 1, 2015

August-December 2015   

July 1, 2015

Blocks may be flexible depending on student need.

The purposes of Rosamond Gifford Zoo's intern program are:

(1) to provide practical, on-the-job experience
(2) to provide exposure to zoo operations and zoo careers

Interns are supervised and instructed by permanent, full-time zoo employees. A member of the department to which the intern has been assigned will serve as the intern's mentor.

Interns are required to keep a journal and complete a management project during their term. They will complete such readings and written assignments as may be required by the department to which they have been assigned. Schedule will be agreed upon in advance.

The internship term is generally 12-14 weeks with a minimum of 12 hours per week or 4 weeks with a minimum of 40 hours per week. Interns will work on a flexible schedule, which may include some weekends and holidays. The internship term and schedule is variable and may be adjusted to meet student needs.

Interns may arrange for course credit with their school advisor. Rosamond Gifford Zoo's animal managers can certify successful completion of internships and will issue a grade transcript to all interns completing the term.

Interns will receive no monetary compensation during their internship.

Interns can be dismissed for unacceptable performance of duties/responsibilities and/or for non-compliance with Rosamond Gifford Zoo regulations and procedures.

Requirements for Application

  • All applicants must be minimum of 16 years of age. 
  • All applicants must have an overall 2.5 grade point average.
  • All applicants if accepted must submit written results of a negative intradermal tuberculosis test within the last year prior to the start of their internship. 
  • All applicants must have verification of an up-to-date tetanus vaccination.
  • Only completed application packets will be considered. A complete packet includes the following:
  • A standard application form.
  • A letter from the applicant detailing what he/she hopes to gain from the program, and how the internship relates to past experience, future plans, career goals.
  • A resume including education and relevant experience.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professionals evaluating the applicant's aptitude, preparation, and suitability to the program.

These requirements are to be collected by the applicant and sent as a complete packet to Nate Stevens at, or mailed to the following address:

Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attention: Animal Department Internships
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204

Complete application packets for internships must be received by the deadline for the desired block listed above. Any applications received after the deadline date will not be considered. Incomplete application packets (missing any of the items noted 1 through 4 above) will not be considered.

Following the deadline for application submission, all packets will be reviewed by animal managers. Within 2-3 weeks after the deadline, all applicants will be notified whether or not they have been chosen for an interview. Interview arrangements will be made with selected candidates. After the interview process, prospective interns will be informed if they will be placed in the program. At that time, an animal area will be assigned and the schedule finalized.

For further information, please contact us at (315) 435-8511 x100 and ask for the appropriate person (as listed above).

Click here to download an Animal Internship Application.

Job Shadowing

All inquiries regarding the Job Shadow program should be directed to John Moakler, collection manager, at

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Job Shadow program offers a unique opportunity for high school students in grades 10-12 to experience a day in the life of a zoo employee. The student will spend up to one full day (8 hours) following an employee through their normal workday, helping perform their daily duties or observing when an activity requires. There may be some hands-on work with animals, under very close supervision of the keeper. Students will not be left alone with any animal at any time. If the student has a special interest in a particular animal or aspect of zookeeping (e.g. training, diets, etc) an effort will be made to accommodate the student. Job shadow candidates are accepted January-June and September-December.

Please review the following protocols established for the job shadow. If you have any questions, please contact John Moakler at (315 ) 435-8511.

  • Applications for job shadows with Parental/Guardian Permission Slip should be submitted to the zoo 4 weeks prior to the desired shadowing date.
  • If a shadowing arrangement is possible applicants will be contacted to schedule the job shadow. The work time will be scheduled by your mentor assuming approval of the shadow.
  • The shadow should have an up-to-date tetanus vaccination and must have a copy of written results of a negative intradermal tuberculosis (TB) test from within the last year, prior to the job shadow experience.
  • Minimum age: sophomore in high school. The shadow must be  responsible, and exhibit good judgment and common sense. College students interested in a zoo career should apply for an internship.
  • The shadow must be able to take and follow directions.
  • Experience with animals (including dogs and cats) is recommended, but not required. However, students with a strong fear of animals should work in a non-animal department.
  • Students should reconsider this program if they are allergic to hay, dust, or animals.
  • Appropriate clothing must be worn. Dress for outdoor weather and getting dirty. Students will be working in wet conditions and should wear sturdy shoes, boots or sneakers. 

Click here to download a Job Shadowing application.

Click here to download a Parent/Guardian Permission Form.

Please mail completed application to:

John Moakler
Collection Manager
Rosamond Gifford Zoo
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204

FAQ: Zoo Keeping as a Career

“Zoo keeper” is a term used to describe an individual who cares for animals in zoological parks or aquariums. A career as a zoo keeper offers a unique opportunity in the specialized and demanding profession of maintaining exotic animals for conservation, research, public education and recreation.

Interested in becoming a zoo keeper? The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) has a comprehensive document which will give you a better idea of what the profession entails and information to start you on the road to making this a career. You can access the information by clicking on this link: