Must volunteer a minimum of 60 hours per year and must be a minimum of 18 years of age.

Some of the activities docents take part in:

  • Conduct tours in the Zoo and PPG Aquarium
  • Provide information to visitors at animal exhibits
  • Perform observational research
  • Assist at Zoo special events
  • Visit community groups with small animals

For more information about becoming a docent, email or call 412-365-2524.

Zoo Teens

The Zoo Teens summer volunteer program is available for students ages 15-17.

It is a great way to learn more about animals and zoo careers. Zoo Teens will choose one day a week that’s convenient for them. This is a 6 week program, and Zoo Teens are expected to commit to at least 5 weeks. Duties include small animal care and handling, staffing touch tables, assisting with Zoo Camp, and interacting with the public throughout the Zoo, primarily in  Kids Kingdom.

Only teens who meet the following criteria should complete the online form:

  • You will be between the ages of 15-17 years old. (Note you must be 15 years old by June 1, 2022).
  • You did not participate in this program previously
  • You can commit to one day a week for at least 5 weeks of the 6 weeks that the program runs. Program will begin on June 21, 2022.
  • You have proof of Covid Vaccination
  • You will be available for an interview

The program is full for Summer 2022

Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at with any questions.

Volunteer Divers

**The Zoo is now accepting applicants for volunteer divers. Volunteers must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.**

What is a Volunteer Diver?

Volunteer divers assist PPG Aquarium staff with in-tank maintenance of our warm and cold water exhibits, including the ocean tank, sea otters, sand tiger sharks, and more. Volunteer divers also participate in special event activities that further the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s mission.

Do I need previous SCUBA experience?

Yes. Divers must be at least 18 years old, hold an open water SCUBA certification from a recognized agency (PADI, NAUI, etc.).

How do I apply?

  1. Read the full description of volunteer diver requirements under the “Full Volunteer Diver Requirements” tab.
  2. Fill out and submit an application form. Send completed form to the PPG Aquarium staff at, with “Volunteer Dive Program” in the e-mail subject line. If you qualify, a PPG Aquarium representative will contact you to set up an interview.
  3. After all further paperwork is complete, you will complete an in-water dive evaluation and underwater diver orientation requirements.

How often will I dive?

Scheduling varies, but divers must participate at least once per month and attend regular volunteer dive meetings to stay active in the program.

Thank you for your interest. If you have additional questions, please email

A volunteer diver assists PPG Aquarium husbandry staff with in-tank maintenance of warm and cold water exhibits, primarily: Ocean, Flooded Forest, Sea Otter, Penguin, and Sand Tiger Shark exhibits. Volunteer divers also participate in special event activities that further the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s mission. Duties include cleaning acrylic panels, cleaning and maintenance of artificial rockwork and corals, assisting with in-tank maintenance, dive show demonstrations and keeping current on the exhibits and collection. In addition, a diver must learn to interpret the collections behavior, to keep accurate records, and maintain clean work areas. Occasionally, a diver may be requested to assist Aquarium staff in other areas or exhibits as needed.

While volunteering, safety must always be a top priority. The volunteer diver must be familiar with all safety procedures as specified by the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium reserves the right to remove any volunteer from the program if his or her actions do not represent the Aquarium in a safe, professional, courteous, and knowledgeable manner.


Application Process

Step 1: General Requirements

Divers must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Hold an Open Water SCUBA certification (or higher) by a recognized agency (PADI, NAUI, etc).
  • Have completed at least 10 dives and have been diving, or completed a refresher course, within the last 6 months.
  • Supply all diving equipment for aquarium dives (except tanks and weights).
  • Complete a volunteer PA background check. Click here for the PA background check website.
  • Provide proof of a negative TB test (on your orientation day).
  • Provide a voided personal check if direct deposit is desired.
  • Provide two (2) forms of proper ID:
    • Driver’s license or photo student ID
    • Birth Certificate
    • Social Security Card
    • Valid passport

Step 2: Dive Application Forms

Step 3:  Items that require annual renewal

  • Submit annual equipment maintenance receipts on BCDs & Regulators
  • Submit an annual copy of your valid DAN Insurance card.
  • Submit a copy of your current First Aid & CPR Training as needed, or obtain within 3 months of volunteering.
  • Complete AAUS medical re-evaluations as needed.

Step 4: Once your paperwork is complete

  • Submit paper work to the Dive Safety Officer & Volunteer Coordinator at
  • You will then be contacted to join an Orientation day.
  • Complete an in-water dive skills evaluation.

Step 5: Throughout your participation

  • Attend mandatory Volunteer Dive Meetings.
  • Remain up to date with PPG Aquarium policies.
  • While in the water and at the aquarium, all volunteer divers must present themselves accordingly. Appearances should be neat and conservative. At all times, remember that you are representing the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
  • All new divers will be signed up to the Volunteer Diver Yahoo Groups, where volunteers can co-ordinate with buddies, set dive schedules, and contribute to our online members’ forum.

Volgistics Log-In

If you are a current volunteer diver, log-in here to schedule dives and communicate with the dive team.

The Pride Advisory Council

The Pride Advisory Council (The PAC) is a philanthropy-focused group dedicated to championing wildlife conservation, encouraging involvement, and bringing community awareness to the mission of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

As rising community leaders, The PAC members experience the Zoo from an exclusive perspective through networking opportunities, volunteerism, and priority access to Zoo events and adventures, all while helping to secure funds and identify new partnerships for the Zoo. Revenue generated through the Pride directly supports our world-class care, education, and wildlife conservation programs.

The Membership committee meets quarterly and reviews applications on a rotating basis. Once they review your application a Zoo staff member will set up an interview with you.


For more information about The PAC, please contact Mike Cmar at