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Guest Services Cast Member

Santa Barbara Zoo

Guest Services Cast Member

Santa Barbara, CA
Part Time
  • Responsibilities

    Bring your fun personality to the stage!

    We're looking for upbeat and outgoing cast members and suit performers to appear before more than 200,000 people per year as part of our kid-friendly stage shows “How to Train Your Dinosaur ” and “California Tales.” Duties also include creating an interactive guest experience in the Zoo's Ranger Station.

    Join the fun of educating our guests!

    Cast members must be at least 16 years old. Puppeteers must be at least 18 years old and between 5’7” and 6’2” (per costume requirement). Puppeteers must be able to carry a costume containing a 75-pound backpack device for at least 20 minutes at a time, up to three times a day. Puppeteers must be comfortable with tight spaces and wearing such a costume. All show participants must be willing to undergo acting training, and rehearsal, and follow instructions from the director. Stage, dance, gymnastics, and/or athletic experience are a plus.

    The show runs:

    • Twice per day on weekends (typically between hours of 10:30 and 15:30, however schedule may vary).
    • Every day during school breaks throughout the day (including holidays)

    This position is up to 25 hours per week. Wages: $16.00/hour



    Under the general direction of the Director of Guest Services and Guest Services Supervisors, the Guest Services Cast Member is responsible for engaging and entertaining Zoo guests through live performances and interactive experiences. The Cast Member portrays a character or animal, delivering scripted lines, providing education, and participating in choreographed routines that are safe and entertaining. They contribute to creating a memorable and educational experience for guests while promoting the Zoo's mission of conservation and wildlife awareness.

    ESSENTIAL DUTIES include the following:

    Cast Team Member

    Collaborates with the supervisors and fellow cast members to rehearse and perfect performances.

    Learns and memorizes scripts, songs, and choreography to deliver captivating and engaging shows.

    Embodies the assigned character or animal, portraying their traits, behaviors, and movements authentically. Uses physical movements, expressions, and voice to bring the character to life and engage the audience.

    Successfully collaborates with all aspects of the stage show, and supports operations with Guest Services duties as needed.

    Responsible for inspecting the conditions of all props, costumes, and equipment daily and reporting maintenance needs through the appropriate channels of communication in a timely manner. Ensures that all areas and equipment are well maintained and in excellent condition.

    Ensures all costumes used are returned after shows/appearances. Inspects the condition of costumes upon return, and stores them in an orderly fashion, ready for the next show.

    Performs scheduled shows throughout the day, ensuring consistency and quality in each performance. Executes scripted lines, songs, and dance routines with enthusiasm and precision, adapting to the energy of the audience, following Zoo communication standards, and exemplifying our Mission statement.

    Engages with Zoo visitors before, during, and after shows to provide information about the animals, conservation efforts, and other educational content. Answers questions, encourages participation, and fosters a sense of wonder and excitement among guests.

    Works closely with other cast members and zoo staff, to coordinate smooth transitions, cues, and overall show operations. Fosters a collaborative and supportive environment that encourages creativity, teamwork, and continuous improvement.

    Participates in ongoing training sessions to enhance performance skills, animal knowledge, and presentation techniques. Stays informed about the Zoo's exhibits, conservation initiatives, and relevant wildlife topics to effectively communicate with guests.

    Ensures the Zoo’s presentation standards for cleanliness and maintenance are met by keeping work areas clean, picking up trash, and reporting unsafe or unsightly conditions.

    Responsible for finding Cast member replacements through WhenToWork trade board and notifying Guest Services supervisors when unable to perform as scheduled.

    Represents the Zoo in a positive and professional manner when interviewed by the media.

    Utilizes time efficiently and effectively

    Guest Relations

    Provides exceptional customer service by assisting guests with inquiries, directions, information, and recommendations. Maintains a positive and approachable demeanor, creating a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere for all guests.

    Greets every guest with a smile.

    Thanks guests for supporting/visiting the Zoo.

    Answers phone calls, voice mails, and e-mails promptly and professionally.

    Responds to all guest inquiries, complaints, and comments according to Zoo guest relations procedures.

    Maintains a clean neat appearance and adheres to the Zoo’s uniform dress code.

    Takes responsibility to stay informed about happenings at the Zoo, through reading employee communications and attending meetings.

    Adheres to the Zoo’s policies and procedures as outlined in the Employee Policy Manual.

    Applies and exemplifies “green” (sustainable) practices whenever possible.

    Performs additional Guest Services duties as assigned


    · Participates in special team assignments as directed by the Director of Guest Services and Events or Guest Services Supervisors

    · Supports Conservation, Education, and Special Event programs.


    To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements and environmental characteristics described below are representative of the knowledge, skill, ability, and working and physical elements required of the position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.

    Education and Experience:

    Previous experience in theater, acting, performance, or similar roles is desirable.

    High school diploma or equivalent preferred.

    Previous stage experience through theater, music or dance is a plus.

    Dramatic training a plus.

    License, Certification, or Preferred Qualifications:

    Valid driver’s license with good driving record is a plus

    Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:

    Ability to memorize scripts, songs, choreography, and to improvise under pressure.

    Excellent stage presence and the ability to connect with diverse audiences.

    Knowledge or interest in zoology, wildlife conservation, or environmental sciences is a plus.

    Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills to engage with visitors of all ages.

    Willingness to comply with safety guidelines and protocols, including working around animals.

    A positive and professional attitude with the ability to work effectively within a team

    Effective oral and written communication skills, with ability to supervise others in a friendly and effective manner.

    Excellent time management skills (must be prompt and on time)

    Excellent customer service.

    Ability to entertain, convey characters traits and express emotions in front of a diverse live audience.

    Capacity to develop friendly and productive relationships at work with a focus on collaboration.

    Ability to handle conflict effectively and constructively.

    Ability to interact courteously and respectfully with supervisors, fellow colleagues, volunteers, and our guests.

    Ability to work successfully in a shared workspace, with shared equipment.

    Ability to work a flexible schedule that will include some weekends, holidays, and when events are scheduled.

    Ability to exercise safe work habits, with attention to details and with a focus on safety.

    Physical Demands & Work Environment for Duncan the Dinosaur and/or CA Bear Suit Performers:

    Ability to carry 75 lbs suit for at least 20 minutes at a time

    Height requirement for the suit is 5’8” to 5’10”

    Must be comfortable performing for at least 20 minutes in an enclosed body suit

    Physical Demands & Work Environment for all Cast Members, including Suit Performers:

    Physical ability to perform multiple shows daily.

    Must be able to access all areas of the facility.

    Must be able to perform on stage for up to 30 minutes at a time.

    Must be able to climb stairs, manipulate props, and stand/walk for up to two continuous hours.

    Ability to lift 15-30 pounds occasionally, in course of normal duties.

    Ability to manipulate props and puppets

    Ability to hear and respond to the audience

    Ability to operate out-of-doors in all weather conditions.

    Ability to contribute to a supportive and open employment culture.

    Tools Used:

    Two-way radio

    Hand tools

    Go Pro Video equipment

    Decibel Meter

    Show Stage props and equipment

    CA Bear and Duncan Dino suits for Cast Member/Suits Performer

    Computer and Microsoft Office Suite

    Standard office equipment; telephone, printer, copier, facsimile machine, and calculator

    Automotive Vehicle/Van

    Golf cart

    This job description is representative of the expectations of the position described. Additional duties, reporting relationships, and/or position criteria may be assigned as deemed necessary by the Chief Executive Officer or authorized representative. No changes to this job description shall be made without written permission by the Chief Executive Officer or authorized representative.

    The Zoo reserves the right to revise this job description at any time. The job description does not constitute a contract for employment, and does not guarantee employment for any specified period of time. The job description does not in any way alter the at-will employment relationship.

    “I have read and understand the terms of this job description. I understand that measurements and evaluations of my performance in the described position shall be based in part on this job description.”