Radiated Tortoise

Radiated Tortoise

The radiated tortoise’s shell has a pattern of yellow lines “radiating” from the center of the dark plate of the shell, hence the name. The shell also contains blood vessels and nerves, so a tortoise can actually feel when it is touched.

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Catering at the Zoo


Job seekers interested in permanent employment for animal care or labor/maintenance positions should complete a county application, located on the Onondaga County website: http://www.ongov.net/employment/jobs.

Thank you.

Paid Positions - Friends of the Zoo


Education Coordinator

High $20K's/year - Full Time

Go to the zoo every day and be a part of the success of one of the most beloved attractions in the region! The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is home to approximately 700 animals on 43 acres attracting more than 370,000 visitors each year and ranks among the top 10% of zoos in the nation. Friends of the Zoo is a non-profit entity and exists to provide financial support to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

The Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park seeks a dynamic educator to join our team. The successful candidate will work with the Education Program Manager/Summer Zoo Camp Director and the Education Department team members to create and deliver programming using live animals and artifacts to engage audiences of all ages and inspire participants to protect wildlife and wild places.

Primary duties include development and growth of assigned programs, including meeting established impact and revenue goals. The successful candidate will be able to exercise effective audience management for a variety of situations, including but not limited to Pre-K settings, school classrooms, library and auditorium programs. The education team conducts programming to engage audiences from 3 to 103 years old.

Previous experience as an educator is essential. Superior public speaking, interpersonal skills, creativity and flexibility are a must. Prior success developing and conducting educational programming is crucial. The successful applicant must have a grasp of New York State Learning Standards and Common Core Learning Standards to keep zoo programming relevant for school clients. The ability to work independently as well as part of a team is critical.

Applicant must be comfortable with caring for and handling a wide variety of domestic and exotic animals. This position requires daily travel throughout Central New York including driving in all kinds of weather, and will require evenings and/or weekend hours. Applicant must be able to promote the zoo and its mission, and professionally represent the organization at all times to the general public.

Preference will be given to candidates with:
- Bachelor's degree in education, zoology, biology, environmental science or a related field
- Minimum one year of experience working as an educator in a school, zoo, aquarium, nature center or similar organization
- Experience caring for and handling domestic and exotic animals
- Ability to lift 50 lbs. and handle animal carrier
- A valid New York State driver's license, automobile insurance and access to a reliable vehicle.

Full-time position includes a comprehensive benefits package. Salary in the high 20s, depending on experience.

For a complete job description, please click here.

Completion of a successful background check is required for employment.

Applications will be accepted until position is filled.

Submit cover letter with salary requirements, resume, and 3 professional references to employment@rosamondgiffordzoo.org

No phone calls or walk-ins, please.

Jungle Cafe Assistant Manager

$13/hour - Part Time

Come to work for Central New York's #1 family destination! The Jungle Cafe© at the Rosamond Zoo is seeking an energetic service oriented Part-time Assistant Manager for our quick service location.

The successful candidate must:
- Have the proven ability to train and motivate a team
- Prior experience working with high school and college students a plus
- Be able to work independently and be self-motivated
- Have 2+ years restaurant experience at a supervisory level
- Be flexible with days/hours
- Be able to work one week-end day per week
- Have experience in food ordering, scheduling, budgeting

If you feel you meet the above qualifications and are interested in working in one of CNY's most unique environments, please email cover letter, resume and 3 business references to - employment@rosamondgiffordzoo.org - Microsoft Word or PDF format only.

Or mail to:
Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attn: HR
One Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204

To view a complete job description, click here.


Jungle Cafe Associate

$10.40/hour - Part Time

If you are interested in working in a fast-paced, unique environment Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo is looking for you!

We are now accepting applications to fill part-time positions in our Jungle Café. Must have availability M-F during the day, weekend availability a plus. Hours available will be from 10 - 20 per week.

We are seeking candidates that are energetic, customer and team oriented. Candidates with food and beverage, customer service or parks experience are strongly encouraged to apply.

Completion of a successful background check is required for employment. Working papers are required for anyone under 18 years of age.

Applications are available at the membership desk or email your resume to employment@rosamondgiffordzoo.org (Word or PDF attachments only) or mail to:

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, att'n: Human Resources
1 Conservation Place, Syracuse, NY 13204

No phone calls, please. Equal Opportunity Employer.


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.

Event Planning Interns

Event planning internship inquiries should be directed to Catering at the Zoo, events@rosamondgiffordzoo.org. Internship is unpaid.

Communications Interns

Communications internship inquiries should be directed to J Gramza at info@rosamondgiffordzoo.org. Writing skills are a must, photo skills a plus. Internship is unpaid.

Animal Department Interns

Animal-related internship inquiries should be directed to Nancy Asherman in the zoo's administrative office at nancyasherman@ongov.net.

Available blocks and applicable deadlines for animal department internships:



August-December 2018 

June 1, 2018

January-May 2019

November 1, 2018

May-August 2019

March 1, 2019

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 Nancy Asherman in the zoo's administrative office, nancyasherman@ongov.net, or mailed to the following address:

Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attn: 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 x8566 and ask for Nancy Asherman.

Click here to download an Animal Internship Application.

Job Shadowing

All inquiries regarding the Job Shadow program should be directed to Seth Groesbeck, collection manager, at sethgroesbeck@ongov.net.

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 Seth Groesbeck at (315 ) 435-8511 x8595.

  • 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:

Seth Groesbeck
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: https://www.aazk.org/zoo-keeping-as-a-career/

Onondaga County does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability in employment or the provision of services. Links: Onondaga County's policy, complaint process, and language assistance or disability access issues.