The Austin Nature and Science Center (ANSC) offers a variety of exciting and rewarding volunteer opportunities. We are currently updating our volunteer program and have paused accepting new applications for the rest of the summer 2022. Check in the fall for renewed opportunities and fill out an application when positions open up again. Most positions require some training. For more information, please call visitor services at 512-974-3888.

Possible Volunteer Positions (subject to change)


Exhibit Docent

Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., in 2 hours shifts

Help visitors interpret both the rotating and permanent exhibits:

  1. Interpretive and/or interactive activities and interactions with visitors around our exhibits, particularly animal enclosures, Birds of Prey, and Dino Pit: answering visitor’s questions, providing supplemental materials (animal artifacts to touch/discuss, live animals with staff assistance, table activities, interactive programs, etc.).
  2. Helping wildlife staff to remind visitors of site policies to keep our animals safe (i.e., no dogs, remaining behind fencing, refraining from feeding wildlife) and assisting with site cleanliness.
  3. Guide visitors in the Dino Pit and ensure fossils are covered in down times
  4. Offer guided walks through the preserve or along our Forest Trail or programming related to these areas (optional)
  5. Attend trainings about any new exhibits and changes in our permanent exhibits

Exhibit Docent Volunteers must be open-minded and willing to engage citizens of all ages and backgrounds, comfortable conveying Nature Center policies to visitors and reporting any dangerous behavior to supervisor, and will preferably be interested in animals and independently seek to further their own education (which will be happily supported and occasionally provided by ANSC staff and local experts). Must be 16 or older and commit to a minimum of 3 months.

Naturalist Workshop Volunteer

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 1 - 4 p.m.

Help visitors in the Naturalist Workshop interpret touchable items (bones, rocks, shells, and any other parts of our collection): Answer general nature questions they might have (or help them find resources to answer those questions—we have a number of guidebooks and reference collections).

Staff the Trade Counter: A trading post where children can bring in nature items or answer nature questions in exchange for points. Points can be used to buy an assortment of other nature items, posters, jewelry, etc.). Volunteers are responsible for working with the traders—listening to them and guiding them through identifying and musing about their items, assigning and tallying their points, and maintaining trader’s account cards (note cards with trade record).

Help catalog collections and exhibits: Have a fine eye for detail and knack for data entry? You can contribute to our archival efforts by taking pictures and updating records. The cataloging opportunity will not be a regular position and will likely be scheduled when the need arises.

Naturalist Workshop volunteers must be good listeners, patient and respectful with children of diverse educational backgrounds, as well as their parents. They must have the ability to be close to insects, bones, dirt, and the occasional runny nose. They will preferably be interested in nature and independently seek to further their own education (which will be happily supported and occasionally provided by ANSC staff and local experts. Must be 16 or older and commit to a minimum of 3 months.

Sheffield Education Center Assistant (Splash! Exhibit)

Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. or Sundays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. for 2-3 hour sessions

Assist Splash! Exhibit’s staff on weekends with demonstrating a variety of water related program activities to engage children and adults visiting Zilker Park. Background knowledge is helpful, but not required. Must be 17 or older and commit to a minimum of 3 months.

Horticulture Assistant

Tuesdays and Thursdays

Work with the ANSC staff horticulturist to maintain and upgrade native landscaping at the ANSC. Sessions are scheduled and coordinated each week based on weather and seasonal landscape needs. All tools and supplies are provided. Must be 18 or older.

ANSC Event Volunteer Opportunities

Assist staff with ANSC one-day events such as Austin Museum Day, Fall festival, Celebrate Urban Birds, and Austin Nature Day.  Shifts are four to eight hours and include facilitating hands-on family friendly activities and events.  Many event volunteer opportunities will be posted on the ANSC’s GivePulse Volunteer Portal.


When applications are being accepted again, please fill out the Austin Nature & Science Center online volunteer application.