Play Program Assistant (Seasonal)

Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo Brookfield, Illinois
Job Type Seasonal / temporary

Pay rate $12.00 per hour.  Minimum 16 years of age required.  Must have completed at least two years of high school. As Play Program Assistant, you will assist Play Partners and the Hamill Family Play Zoo (“HFPZ”) volunteers with all daily play program activities, including helping visitors with projects in the HFPZ workshop, HFPZ greenhouse and other play settings.  You will provide daily program preparation support to the Play Partners and HFPZ Volunteers and assists with ongoing setup and cleanup of the various play settings.  This position is an important rung of the (“STEM”) Ladder program which creates opportunities to inspire conservation leadership in diverse youth. 

The Hamill Family Play Zoo provides a unique setting where children and families have an opportunity to connect with a variety of animals and provides an astonishing enjoyable way to connect with nature. The Hamill Family Play Zoo is an interactive play adventure filled with animals, plants, and people that engages children and families helping to develop caring attitudes towards the natural world. The Play Zoo lets children touch animals, paint murals, plant gardens, discover insects and so much more.

The primary duties and responsibilities include:

  • Assist Play Partners and volunteers in the facilitation of play programs for children, aged birth to 10 years, in indoor and outdoor settings, as assigned.
  • Assist Play Partners and volunteers in the preparation of play program materials for use in indoor and outdoor settings, as assigned.
  • Participate in the setup, maintenance, and clean-up of materials on a daily basis in indoor and outdoor settings, as assigned.
  • Assist Play Partners and volunteers in the care of equipment and property.
  • Attend meetings and training sessions as assigned.
  • Other related duties as assigned.

Work Schedule Information: As Brookfield Zoo is open 365 days a year, this position highly prefers flexible availability to work any 5 days out of any 7 days each week with work shifts that are generally during the hours that Brookfield Zoo is open. From Memorial Day – Labor Day we are open 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily (Sundays until 7:30 p.m.). After Labor Day until Memorial Day the weekend and weekdays hours vary from 9:30/10:00 a.m. – 5:00/6:00 p.m. During special events, the Zoo may be open until 9:00/10:00 p.m. Play Program Assistant positions require the ability to work non-standard hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

The requirements for this position include the following:

  • Minimum two years of high school required.
  • Must be a minimum of 16 years of age.
  • Must have ability to work in a team environment.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Good organizational skills.
  • Must have a genuine interest in nature and animals.
  • Ability to learn play facilitation skills.
  • Must be open to new experiences.
  • Experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience.

The desirable qualifications include:

  • One year within the Chicago Zoological Society King Conservation Science Scholars program or one year experience in a volunteer or youth leadership program desired.
  • Experience in a zoo, aquarium, museum, nature center, or art studio preferred.
  • Previous experience caring for children of different ages strongly preferred
  • Educational and/or recreational experience in a formal or non-formal education setting such as a day care, camp, school, park district, or cultural institution working with children aged birth to 10 years preferred.
  • Creative skills and/or abilities such as musician, actor, dancer, artist, gardener, farmer, naturalist, craftsperson, or other skills relevant to the exhibit experience are a plus.
  • Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency a plus.

Additional Information:  This seasonal position requires the incumbent to interact with the Play Partners, volunteers, and visitors to the Hamill Family Play Zoo.  Incumbent must be enthusiastic and outgoing.  Must work non-standard hours including a flexible schedule with rotating days, including regular weekends, holidays and evening work as needed.   


The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile.  Please visit our website at  Please look for requisition number 1700BR.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.