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Enrichment Internship

The purpose of the enrichment internship is to give students practical experience in animal enrichment and animal observations. Enrichment interns will learn the importance of enrichment in a captive environment and proper techniques used to created different enrichment items for a variety of species.

The person in this position is to assist the husbandry department in creating enrichment items for the bird, program animal, and marine mammal collections. Interns will not only make a variety of enrichment items, they will also be responsible for observing the animals with these items daily and recording the animal’s behavior and interest level.


Experience: Knowledge of animal husbandry and an understanding of animal enrichment preferred but not required.

Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:

  • Ability to research protocols and conduct experiments.
  • Broad knowledge of ecological and biological principles.
  • Interns must be willing to work hard and make animal observations for long periods of time.
  • Interns should be creative and comfortable speaking to guests by answering questions about the animal collection they will be observing.
  • Willingness to work hard and get dirty.
  • Strong communication skills to transmit information to staff, visitors and program participants in a clear and thorough manner.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks.
  • Interest in pursuing a career in animal care or research.
  • Desire to instill a sense of wonder, respect and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants.


  • Completion of 240 hrs over a 15 week time period.
  • Must complete general orientation class.
  • Must attend continuing education session when applicable.
  • Junior, Senior, or Graduate standing at accredited university or college.
  • Interest in pursuing a career in the animal care of research field.
  • Completion of project or research paper during internship period.


  • Complete a series of readings. These readings will include but are not limited to: volunteer handbook and training manual, enrichment articles, and fact sheets on each animal the enrichment is being made for.
  • Learn and understand the basics of enrichment. Research how you can apply it to the animal collection at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
  • After doing this research, create an enrichment item for various animal species.
  • Observe animals with each enrichment item and record behavior and interest level.
  • Create a spreadsheet or records based on findings.
  • Interns will be expected to learn the basic understanding of enrichment and research how it can be applied to the Aquarium of the Pacific’s animal collection.
  • Complete a project or research paper during internship period.
  • Written research paper or complete a project by the end of the internship.


Enrichment Interns are supervised by paid mammal and bird staff members. However, as interns become fully trained they are expected to work independently.

Supporting Policies:

Interns are expected to follow the provisions of the volunteer handbook, the policies of the Husbandry Department, and other aquarium policies and procedures.

Working Conditions:

Interns are expected to work in a variety of conditions. Many tasks may be physically demanding and performed in hot environments. They may also be working with various power tools, etc.

Candidates will be competitively chosen on the basis of knowledge, abilities, and experience.