• 1 person is interested

Henry Vilas Zoo Gardeners

Save to Favorites


  • 1 person is interested

Gardening volunteers at Henry Vilas Zoo help develop and maintain the 28 acres of green space that give our animals and humans a functional and beautiful home. Unlike everyday gardening, zoological horticulture is in a category all its own. We choose plant collections to help enhance animal enclosures - highlighting plant species guests may see in any one animal’s environment. We also maintain a large browse collection - plants that can be continuously harvested to feed to our grazing animals in addition to their regular diets.

As a gardening volunteer at HVZ, you’ll be working alongside our horticulturalist on a variety of projects. Some of these are routine weeding and mulching. Others projects may include planting and transplanting. Some might be truly awe-inspiring (Our 2022 gardening crew brought our long lost rain garden back to life! Even uncovered a mural in the process!).

Gardening at HVZ is a real commitment. You’ll be required to complete a general orientation along with an initial onsite training in the spring. Throughout the summer you’ll also need to attend at least two of four special workshop offerings focusing on zoological horticulture and zoos in general. The season will end in September with a final browse/vegetable harvesting day full of goodies you’ll be helping feed out to our animals.

Interested in joining our crew? Fill out a Volunteer Interest Form here: www.henryvilaszoo.gov/volunteer/volunteer-form. We'll invite you to a Zoom info session so you can meet the team and learn more about the opportunity. We’ll also get you on our email list so you’ll be the first to know when this and other opportunities become available for the season.

4 More opportunities with Henry Vilas Zoo

Request failed
{{ opp.title }}
This is a Virtual Opportunity.
{{ opp.location }}
We'll work with your schedule
{{ opp.dateStr }}
{{ opp.timeStr }}

About Henry Vilas Zoo


702 S. Randall Avenue, Madison, WI 53715, US

Mission Statement

Henry Vilas Zoo Mission: Dedicated to exceptional animal care and conserving wildlife through local engagement and global partnerships. Henry Vilas Zoo Vision: Locally loved community treasure, globally recognized conservation leader; forever accessible.


We are proud to be one of only a few admission-free, community-supported zoos across the country. Thank you for supporting our mission to conserve and protect the wonders of the living natural world.

On June 30, 1904, Col. William and Anna Vilas gave a large tract of land to the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association "for the uses and purposes of a public park and pleasure ground." The park was named in memory of the Vilas’ son, Henry, who died at a young age due to complications from diabetes. In 1911, the first animal exhibits were created, representing the beginning of Henry Vilas Zoo. In what has proved to be a defining and truly visionary move, the Vilas family stipulated the park be free to the public. As the zoo developed within the park, it too remained free thanks to community support.

The Henry Vilas Zoo is one of ten remaining free zoos in North America. As an accredited AZA ( Association of Zoos & Aquariums) zoo, our mission is to conserve and protect the wonders of the natural living world.


Animals, Community, Environment


We'll work with your schedule.


702 S. Randall AvenueMadison, WI 53715



  • Gardening


  • Teens
  • People 55+


  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 16
  • Orientation or Training
  • Minimum commitment: Weekly 8:30AM-11:30AM, May through September. We understand that people have lives, and have a minimum of 16-20 shifts to allow volunteers time for family, travel, etc.

Report this opportunity