Welcome to Applegate Park Zoo! 

The City of Merced Parks and Community Services Department and the Merced  Zoological Society (MZS) are in a partnership to provide a well managed and enjoyable zoo facility benefiting the community and those non-releasable animals in its charge. The Zoo benefits from community support of its operations and appreciates your willingness to become a volunteer.  

The purpose of the Zoo Volunteer Program is two-fold:  

  1. Zoo volunteers provide valuable assistance with the day-to-day operation of the zoo and, in doing so, help provide a quality zoo environment. 
  2. Zoo volunteers provide valuable customer service and/or educational talent and resources, promoting nature and wildlife awareness and appreciation.  


  1. MERCED ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY VOLUNTEERS (18 years and up) (No Zoo volunteers in Gift Shop) 
  2. Gift Shop attendants. Collect zoo admission, process gift shop sales, distribute zoo information, and perform other customer assistance as needed.  (Currently unavailable) 
  3. Education program assistants. Assist with zoo tours, zoo camps, special activities, and classes.  
  4. ZOO ANIMAL CARE/LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE (16 years and up) (Please obtain current tetanus shot and negative tuberculosis test before starting work.) 
  5. Animal feeding and enclosure maintenance.  

Volunteers assist the zookeepers in the preparation of animal food and the feeding of zoo animals. They also assist in cleaning and maintaining animal enclosures. Volunteers are not exposed to dangerous animals. 

  1. Landscape Maintenance. Volunteers assist in general zoo grounds maintenance duties (weeding, watering, planting, raking, etc.) on the   Zoo premises. 

Rules related to the Zoo Volunteer Program: 

BEFORE Please fill out a Zoo Volunteer Agreement Form at the City of YOU START Merced Parks and Community Services Department, 690 W. 16th Street, Merced, or at the Applegate Park Zoo/Gladys Escola Gift  

Shop, 1045 W. 25th Street, Merced.

If you wish to be a gift shop or zoo education program  

volunteer, please submit your application to the zoo gift shop  

for review by the volunteer/education coordinator. 

If you wish to be a zoo animal care/landscape maintenance volunteer, please submit your application to a zookeeper for approval. Return the application approved by the zookeeper to

the Parks and Community Services Department. 

MANDATORY By state mandate, volunteers having supervisory or disciplinary  BACKGROUND authority over or interaction with minors must submit to a CHECKS background/fingerprint check before the start of their volunteer work. This is a one-time requirement that must be performed to  

inquire as to any criminal history of the volunteer applicant.  

The City of Merced will cover all expenses related to the  

background check, and information obtained by the City’s  

Personnel Department will be kept strictly confidential. 

Please be prompt in scheduling the fingerprinting appointment by  

contacting the City of Merced Personnel Department at 209-388- 

7100, as you will not be able to volunteer at the zoo until this  

the process is completed, and the department has cleared you. 

TRAINING Depending on the area in which you plan to volunteer, you are to  receive instruction/training either from the Merced Zoological 

Society volunteer coordinator or the zookeepers in charge. You are to work at the zoo only after receiving proper training.

HOURS Hours may be flexible to accommodate volunteers. The Merced  Zoological Society expects you to work at least 4 hours per month. Zookeepers expect you to work at least 8 hours a week at the zoo. Please honor your commitment and keep accurate hours

on the volunteer, timesheet included in this packet. 

DRESS Casual dress is acceptable for the gift shop, tour, or educational program volunteers. For health and safety reasons, volunteers working in animal care and landscaping must wear boots or sturdy close-toed shoes, long pants, plain t-shirts, and gloves. T-shirts

must cover the entire torso. All underwear must be covered.  

Volunteers will be sent home for the day if they violate the dress  


ANIMALS Volunteers may help zookeepers with the caring of animals under supervised conditions. Please do not touch or handle any animal  

without first obtaining the zookeeper’s permission. 

CONDUCT Do not take any part of zoo operations into your own hands.  Zookeepers are solely in charge of the zoo facility. To ensure  

proper animal and facility management, all MZS or City volunteers 

must abide by any zookeeper request related to the health and  

safety of zoo animals, zoo staff, visitors, and facility.  

SUPERVISION Volunteers are under self-supervision once scheduled for the gift shop or education activities or programs. 

Volunteers working under zookeepers will receive their work assignments daily. DO NOT BEGIN ANY ZOO  


PUBLIC Always be courteous and helpful to zoo visitors. If you do not CONTACT know the answer to a specific question, say that you do not know but will find out for them. Please inform the zookeeper  

immediately of any misbehavior by zoo visitors. 

ALCOHOL Drinking of any type of alcoholic beverage or use or possession of DRUGS or substances by volunteers during zoo hours of SMOKING or other operation or City property is strictly prohibited. Smoking or TOBACCO USE other tobacco use is permitted only in areas outside of the zoo – at  park benches, on grassy areas adjacent to the zoo, or in the parking  

lots – and only during designated break times.  

EQUIPMENT Volunteers are responsible for the care, maintenance, and return of  AND SUPPLIES all zoo supplies and equipment used during their shift. Under no  circumstances may zoo supplies and/or equipment be borrowed or  

removed from the zoo. 

GRIEVANCES Although volunteers are appreciated and necessary, this policy  must be respected, or the volunteer will be asked to terminate his or  

her services.  

All complaints, grievances, or concerns about a volunteer’s work in  

the gift shop and/or Ed-zoo-cation Center may be fully discussed  

by contacting the president of Merced Zoological Society. 

All complaints, grievances, or concerns about a volunteer’s work at  

the zoo may be fully discussed by talking with the Lead  


If rules are not being followed or assignments are not being  

completed, MZS staff or the zookeeper may instruct the volunteer  

to leave early for their own safety, as well as the safety of the staff,  

animals and visitors. 

RECOGNITION The City of Merced is proud of its volunteers and makes every effort to honor them. Awards are given as follows: 

100 hours – City or MZS Certificate of Appreciation 

250 hours – City or MZS Volunteer Pin 

500 hours – City or MZS Merced Plaque

Thank you for your interest in becoming an 


Applegate Park Zoo 


The department may properly keep track of service hours that volunteers provide, and for recognition purposes, it is necessary to keep accurate records of the hours worked by each volunteer. The attendance record must be filled out every month by the volunteer and MUST be accurate. 

These attendance records are the only way the department has to keep track of your hours. If you want full credit for your efforts, be sure they are done accurately and submitted at the end of each month worked. If you have questions or concerns about gift shops or educational programs, please call 725-3337 to leave a message for the President of the Merced Zoological Society. If you have questions or concerns about zoo operations, please consult the Zookeeper on-site or the Recreation Supervisor at 385- 6851. 

Volunteer TimeSheet

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