Teen Programs

Fostering Inspiration through Exploration.

(Ages 12 to 17)


**Applications for next summer session will open March 1, 2017**

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Teen Programs provide meaningful life experiences that inspire teens to take conservation action both on and off zoo grounds through education, leadership, stewardship and environmental exploration.

These Teen Programs combine hands on:

  • conservation,
  • wildlife biology,
  • outdoor adventure
  • international travel opportunities,
  • community service,
  • job skills,
  • education,
  • leadership and FUN!

We offer three teen program tracks, Zoo Crew Explorers, Teen Leaders and Junior Zoo Keepers, and each track has the option of participating in our outdoor adventure programming occurring throughout the summer.


Programs Tracks & Details

Zoo Crew Explorers (Ages 12-14)

Exploration, Conservation, and Education Stations: Engaging guests in different activities, games, and presentations focusing on Conservation and Education. Throughout the zoo the teens will have ‘stations’ that they will rotate around to during the day, these stations are great ways to interact with guests and gain public speaking and interpretive skills.

EdVenture Program: Crew members have the opportunity to join us for EdVenture trips that occur throughout the summer months. On average there will be 3 trips offered a month, anything from white water rafting, zip lining, hiking, survival skills, primitive skills, crafting, climbing biking, laser tag, and opportunities to travel internationally.

The Loft: Assisting the animal keepers with basic husbandry skills, program participants will interact with Zoo guests while preparing diets, making treats for the animals or creating fun crafts.

Summer Camp: Teens help with daily camp activities and gain valuable experience working with both children and animals as Junior Camp Mentors.

Face Painting and Button Making: Teens with a creative side will love the opportunity to artistically express their passion for animals. At our button cart, teens build a strong work ethic and public speaking through helping guests create and build their own personalized Cheyenne Mountain Zoo souvenirs.

Teen Leaders (Ages 15-17)

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is looking for responsible high school leaders who love animals, are interested in mentoring their younger peers, leading conservation initiatives and education programs, and acting as CMZ ambassadors. Teen leaders will gain valuable training including leadership, interpretive education, peer mediation, communication and animal handling.

This program will allow older teens to create their own path choosing projects and duties that interest them.

Possible duties based on teen’s interest:
Camp Counselor in Training: Assist camp counselors with leading the daily activities and helping zoo crew explorers.
Loft Interpretive Educator: Engage guests through the use of live animals, group lessons, and keeper talks.
Explorer Guide: Acting as a positive role model, teens will mentor the 12 to 14 year old Zoo Crew Explorers traveling from station to station teaching and assisting with guest interactions. As teen leaders are walking around the Zoo they will also help as guest navigators/Zoo ambassadors.

**Teens interested in participating in both Teen keeper and Teen Leader programs are encouraged to apply for both as a package.**


Junior Zoo Keepers (Ages 15-17)

As a Junior Zoo Keeper, participants with a love of animals will experience what it takes to be a zoo keeper. Provides teens with real-world experience working with our education, animal, and horticulture departments gaining knowledge of what exactly happens behind the scenes to make a zoo possible!

  • Gain personal Zoo experience so you can make informed career decisions.
  • Develop a strong work ethic and problem solving skills.
  • Acquire knowledge and skills surrounding animal care procedures alongside experienced animal keepers.

In animal areas Junior Zoo Keepers are responsible for helping clean exhibits, prepare animal food diets, creating enrichment and assist with keeper talks when needed. Junior Zoo Keepers work hand in hand with Zoo staff and help with the jobs that are a daily part of a zoo keepers career. It’s a robust position that requires hard work, dedication, attention to detail and self motivation. This position can also be a Teen Leader and/or on the Youth Leadership Advisory Council (YLAC)

Loft: Small mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, and Birds

African Rift Valley 1: Meerkats, Zebra, Vultures, Red River Hogs, African Birds and Tortoises.

Primate World: Gorillas, Orangutans, Siamangs, Golden Lion Tamarins and Naked Mole Rats.

African Rift Valley 2: Giraffe, African Lions

Monkey Pavilion/Bears: Smaller Primates, Asiatic and Spectacle Bears.

Conservation Highlands: Tigers, Snow Leopards, Amur Leopards, Pallas’s Cats, Boreal Toads and Black-Footed Ferrets.

Rocky Mountain Wild: Moose, Mountain Lions, Wolf, Lynx, Porcupines, Turkeys, Grizzly Bears and River Otters.

Encounter Africa: Elephants and a Rhino.

Outback Yard: (My Big Backyard, Australia and Scutes Family Gallery)- Australian Animals

Commissary: Animal Diet Kitchen


Application Process

How to Apply:

Teens interested in participating in any of our Teen programs are encouraged to apply. Each teen will go through an application and interview process.

Applicants that are invited to the next step will participate in one or two interviews depending on the program they are applying for. Zoo Crew (12-14 years) and Teen Leaders (15-17 year) will have one interview, while Junior Zoo Keepers (15-17 years) will have one interview with the Teen Program Supervisor and an additional one with Animal Keepers.

Important Dates for 2017 Teen Summer Session:

March 1st – Applications open

March 22nd – Applications close

April 1st – Interviews for returning Junior Zoo Keepers

April 2nd – Interviews for new Junior Zoo Keepers

April 8th – Interviews for new Zoo Crew

April 9th – Interviews for returning Zoo Crew

April 15th – Interviews for Teen Leaders

April 16th – Interview make ups

April 22nd – 2nd Round of Junior Zoo Keeper interviews held with Keeper Staff

April 26th – Decisions and scholarship applications sent out

May 10th – Full summer tuition due in full by noon MST

May 24th – Summer program begins for all teens

August 9th – Summer program ends for all teens

If you have questions please contact the Teen Program Supervisor, Austin Kennedy at akennedy@cmzoo.org




Cheyenne Mountain Zoo 2017 Zoo Teens Program Fees

All fees includes one t-shirt, name tag and reusable beverage cup, as well as daily supervision, program supplies and materials, Zoo Keeper talks and tours, special afternoon workshops, orientation, end of summer party and more!

The basic program fees break down to about $1.30 – $1.60 per hour of contact time over the summer. If you stay active throughout the summer there is the possibility of 100 or more hours of learning and adventure at the Zoo!

Zoo Crew Explorer Prices:
3-month summer session plus 1-month of training

Junior Zoo Keeper and Teen Leader Prices:
3-month summer session plus 1-month of training

Note: $.75 from each Teen Program Registration goes to Quarters for Conservation, which expands Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s regional and global conservation efforts.

Full summer tuition is due by noon on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is committed to working with families to make sure price is not a limiting factor in their child’s experience. Please contact our Teen Programs Supervisor for more information about our payment plans and scholarship opportunities at akennedy@cmzoo.org


Email edprograms@cmzoo.org or call 719-424-7827.