Spectacled Bear

Spectacled Bear

The spectacled bear gets its name from the distinctive rings of white or beige fur around its eyes. These markings stand out against the rest of the bear, which is usually black or dark brown, and look like eyeglasses (or spectacles).

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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

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.

Summer Zoo Camp Instructor

Compensation: $10.40/hr

Hey, teachers and college students! Are you looking for the perfect summer job? Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo is looking for you! We are now accepting applications to fill seasonal positions for Summer Zoo Camp.

We' re seeking candidates who are flexible, enthusiastic and team oriented. Previous experience working with children is required.

As a camp instructor you will:
- Lead zoo tours, attend animal demos, meet zookeepers and animals up close, play games and activities, and create crafts
based on each week's theme for children ages 3-14
- Engage in paid training the week of June 18 and work Zoo Camp starting on June 25 through August 17, Monday
through Friday between the hours of 8:00 and 5:00 p.m. Instructors will be required to work no more than forty hours per week for all eight (8) camp weeks.

For a complete job description, click here.

Completion of a successful background check is required for employment.

Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled. To apply, send a cover letter, resume and three professional references (Word or PDF attachments only) with the job title in the subject line to:
employment@rosamondgiffordzoo.org or mail to:

Friends of the Zoo
Attention Human Resource Department
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204

Please, no phone calls or walk-ins.

Part-Time Gift Shop Staff

Compensation: $10.40/hr

Join the team at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, the number one family entertainment destination in Central New York!

Friends of the Zoo is seeking part-time staff for our retail gift shop. Weekday availability Monday to Friday a must.

We are looking for candidates that are energetic, customer and team-oriented. Retail experience preferred. For a complete job description, click here.

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

To Apply:
Applications are available at the Zoo's membership desk or Email your resume to employment@rosamondgiffordzoo.org (Word or PDF attachments only)
You may also mail your resume to:

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attention: Human Resource Department
One Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204

No phone calls please!

Jungle Cafe Staff (PT)

Compensation: $10.40/hr

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. Positions will have a variety of availability needed:  M-F during the day, weekend availability and summer hours on both weekdays and weekends.

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.

To view a complete job description, cllick here.

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
Attention: Human Resources
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204

No phone calls please!

Banquet Server

Compensation: $11.44-$16.65 /hr (depending on event type)
Employment type: 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 on-call positions in our Catering department. Looking for applicants that have either day availability Monday through Friday, weeknights and weekends or open availability. Hours will vary per event.

We are seeking candidates who are energetic, customer- and team-oriented and self-motivated. Must be a team player and able to handle difficult customers. Will be required to lift moderate to heavy items (50-75 pounds). Position requires ability to continuously stand and walk while carrying items.

Two years' banquet serving experience is required. 

Completion of a successful background check is required for employment. 

Click here for complete job description.

To Apply:
Applications are available at the zoo's membership desk or email your resumé to employment@rosamondgiffordzoo.org (Word or PDF attachments only) with the job title in the subject line. You may also mail your resumé to:

Friends of the Zoo
Attn: HR
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204

Please no phone calls.

Banquet Cook

Compensation: $16-17/hr (depending on event)

The Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, a non-profit organization providing support for the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, is looking for a candidate to fill the position of First Cook. This position is a part-time position with hours up to 40 hrs. a week during busy event season. Must be able to work any day of the week and scheduled shifts that may include early mornings or late nights

The primary duty of the First Cook is menu and preparation and execution for Catering at the Zoo events. Must lead by example and guide the team in a professional demeanor.

Essential duties of the position include:
- Functions as the lead cook and prepares food as outlined in banquet event orders and under the supervision of the Food Services Manager and/or the Banquet Chef;
- Ability to prepare and execute selected catering events in the absence of the Food Services Manager;
- Follows production sheets accurately;
- Able to follow established recipes and provide suggestions for new creation;
- Follows all food handling guidelines in accordance with Department of Health regulations and ensures that others do the same;
- Maintains sanitary conditions of equipment and work area in line with the Department of Health regulations;
- Assists with inventory management to ensure proper rotation and availability of all ingredients as needed;
- Evaluates all foods before serving to ensure highest standards of quality and presentation; maintains appropriate portion control ;
- Directs utility and prep staff in task assignments;
- Supports the team in all kitchen closing duties including clean-up and end of day kitchen inspection;
- Performs other duties as requested.

Desired training or experience:
• 2-3 years experience as a lead cook in menu execution and/or Culinary degree. Mastery of cooking terminology and
• Serve Safe certification and understanding of Health and Safety standards/laws
• Able to operate equipment used for food preparation.

Applicant will be required to submit to a background check conducted by the Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Applicant should also work well under pressure, be organized, flexible, self-motivated, willing to work long hours, and be a team player.

For a complete job description, click here.

Please forward your cover letter, resume to employment@rosamondgiffordzoo.org

No phone calls or walk ins 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.

Event Planning Interns

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

Education Intern

Education Summer Internship inquires should be directed to the HR department by sending your resume to employment @rosamondgiffordzoo.org. 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 2017

June 1, 2017

January-May 2018

November 1, 2017

May-August 2018   

March 1, 2018

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 x100 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 x100.

  • 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.