Springfield Park District's Henson Robinson Zoo is home to animals
native to Australia, Africa, Asia and North and South America. Come visit and
walk through the naturalistic exhibits that house more than 90 species of
native and exotic animals. Learn how Henson Robinson Zoo, in cooperation with
the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, is working to preserve endangered
Children (3-12): $4.25
Seniors (62+): $4.50
Group rates are available for groups with 10 or more paying individuals. Please call for rates (217)585-1821.
The Henson Robinson Zoo began as just a dream of a prominent
Springfield citizen by the name of Henson C. Robinson. In 1967, a tract of land
was donated to the Springfield Park District by the city of Springfield to
fulfill his dream. Construction of the zoo began in 1968 and on August 29,
1970, the Henson Robinson Zoo was officially opened. Over the years, the zoo
has grown and expanded with the addition of several new animals as well as
The zoo is now home to animals native to Australia, Africa, Asia and North and
South America. Over 90 species of native and exotic animals are housed here
among naturalistic exhibits. The zoo participates in scientific research
studies and conservation efforts in addition to providing a fun and educational
environment for people of all ages.
Henson Robinson Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
(AZA). AZA is America's leading accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums
and accredits only those institutions that have achieved rigorous, professional
standards for animal care, education, wildlife conservation and science. As a
member of AZA, Henson Robinson Zoo joins more than 200 other accredited zoos
and aquariums in building North America's largest wildlife conservation
The Henson Robinson Zoo Mission
To enhance the education of our community to wildlife and its
conservation while providing an enjoyable and recreational experience. We shall
achieve our mission by providing a variety of educational opportunities that
increase the awareness of nature and our environment and by developing
naturalistic exhibits that create a greater appreciation for wildlife.
Volunteering at the Henson Robinson Zoo
Henson Robinson Zoo offers unique and
exciting opportunities for volunteering. There are two volunteer programs in
which you may choose to participate.
While you may choose to pursue only one program, volunteers are
encouraged to participate in as many as they want.
do·cent (doe-sent) n.
Who Are Docents?
Docents are adult volunteers at the Henson Robinson Zoo that assist with
educational activities and special events. You must be 18 or older to become a
Docent. However, you may begin training to become a Docent if you will be
turning 18 that year.
What Do Docents Do?
The number one Docent activity is "Close Encounters," in which you would take
one of our people friendly education animals out on zoo grounds and let
visitors get an up close experience while answering their questions about that
animal. You might also volunteer for "Animal Ambassadors" in which you would
answer visitor questions at your favorite animal's exhibit. In addition, you
could volunteer to assist us with one of our special events, education classes,
Zoo To You programs, or amphitheater animal programs. You would have
opportunities to groom and walk our equines and shadow zookeepers as well!
How Do You Become A Docent?
To become a Docent, you must complete the 10 session Docent training course
held on Saturdays from 9:30 to 12:00 January through March. If training classes
have already begun or have finished for the year, contact the Education Curator
at (217) 585-1821 or firstname.lastname@example.org to be placed on the contact
list for the next training session. You will be contacted when registration for
the training course begins. Your registration and waiver forms registration
form [PDF, 63k] and a one-time fee of $100.00 for the training course
may be submitted to the zoo at that time.
Once training is finished, you will be free to volunteer as a Docent any day of
the week or weekend, at any time during zoo hours, and for the activity of your
choice. Docents must volunteer for a minimum of 15 hours per year.
Special Event Volunteers
Special Event Volunteers volunteer their time
for one of several activities during one of the zoo's many special events. Some
of the tasks a volunteer may be given include wearing costumes, running
children's games & crafts, vendor set-up and cleanup, photo taking, turtle
races and much more!
Requirements of Special Event Volunteers
Special Event Volunteers may attend one
special event or many. Shifts on these days are flexible. Special Event
Volunteers must be at least 16 years old.
How to become a volunteer
The first step in becoming a volunteer at the Henson Robinson Zoo
is to fill out registration and waiver forms registration
form [PDF, 63k]. Please return these forms to: Henson Robinson Zoo,
1100 East Lake Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62712.
Join the Wildest Group in Town!
Become a year-round supporter of the Henson Robinson Zoo! Your
support will help ensure that the Henson Robinson Zoo will continue to serve
the public with quality educational and recreational experiences as well as assisting
in conservation efforts through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)
and other national organizations.
Your membership also offers a variety of exciting opportunities!
For more information or to purchase a membership, please contact the zoo at (217) 585-1821.
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