Santa Barbara Zoo Reviews | Glassdoor

Santa Barbara Zoo Reviews

Updated May 22, 2017
12 reviews

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3.5
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Richard Block
6 Ratings

12 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Loved this place!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Show Cast Supervisor in San Bernardino, CA
    Former Employee - Show Cast Supervisor in San Bernardino, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Santa Barbara Zoo (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Fantastic work environment, great coworkers

    Cons

    Short breaks, minor favoritism, unorganized interdepartmental communications

    Advice to Management

    Remember to give more consistent breaks


  2. "Great for entry level, but too hard to stay with low wages"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Barbara, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Barbara, CA
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Santa Barbara Zoo full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Such a great zoo. Small size makes it real intimate and allows for a lot of opportunities to connect with other departments and programs.

    Cons

    Severely limited upward mobility and low wages.

    Advice to Management

    Raise wages. Turn over is high because of dissatisfaction with low wages despite excellent merit of many employees. Instead many employees work two jobs - which is especially hard on folks with families.


  3. "Santa Barbara Zoo"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Barbara, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Barbara, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Santa Barbara Zoo full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The Zoo has a great work culture and fun atmosphere.

    Cons

    There focus on work culture makes them overlook things such as employee morale, functionality and productivity. There is little to no room for development or growth with this company.

    Advice to Management

    Nepotism and favoritism is rampant at this company!


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  5. "Awesome learning experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Accounting Specialist in Santa Barbara, CA
    Former Employee - Accounting Specialist in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great first job to get accustomed to working in the accounting field
    Awesome upper management, great training program
    Fun chance to see the exhibits and animals without all the other visitors

    Cons

    Not much advancement opportunity
    Part time position only


  6. "Commitment to Excellence"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Barbara, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Over the past decade the Zoo's management has focused on building a great institution, following many of the principles outlined in Jim Collins' best-selling business book, "Good to Great." The Zoo has made an enormous investment in and commitment to staff development and team-building. The Zoo established the Santa Barbara Zoo Leadership Institute in cooperation with the Professional Development Program at Santa Barbara City College six years ago and continues to offer training to staff at all levels within the organization. In addition, the Conservation Education Department operates the "Zooniversity" which offers year-round training in everything from delivering quality guest services to understanding animal husbandry for all staff and volunteers.

    The success of these staff development programs and the value placed on the work environment and employee benefits are clear n the steadily increasing contributions the Zoo makes to the employees' retirement programs (employees are staying longer). Each year the number of employees receiving recognition for five, ten, fifteen, and twenty years of service increases.

    Through the generosity of friends in the community, the Zoo has invested over $15 million in capital improvements to exhibits and facilities since 2002. Two of the major exhibits, "Elephant Walk" and "California Trails" have been recognized with awards from the California Association of Contractors and the Santa Barbara Contractors Association. The Zoo is one of only four zoos in the world to have the privilege to exhibit highly endangered California condors.

    Cons

    The real "downsides" have more to do with the cost of living in Santa Barbara (housing) and the challenges associated with raising capital funds in a small community. The competition for philanthropic dollars in Santa Barbara is ferocious with hundreds of nonprofit organizations vying for a limited pool of donations. Attracting high quality employees from outside the tri-county area that are a good fit to the culture and mission of the Zoo can be difficult.

    Advice to Management

    Management must remain vigilant and driven to become a great institution. Being satisfied with what has been achieved can soften the commitment to reaching for even greater goals as a conservation organization and a model of nonprofit management and performance.


  7. "Don't ever work for the Santa Barbara Zoo if you care about animals."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Keeper in Santa Barbara, CA
    Former Employee - Keeper in Santa Barbara, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Location. Beautiful setting. Lovely views. Good assortment of animals.

    Cons

    nepotism. poor management. People who work their only follow orders and don't actually care about the animals. If you speak up as an employee and are dissatisfied with how things are done, even in a constructive manner, you are in danger of being fired. Don't ever go to HR or you get fired. People who are not qualified to lead or manage are put in managment posiitons. Overall poor management and lack of communication or support for employees by management. People are not rewarded for their work they are rewarded for being drones.

    Advice to Management

    Take a careful look at what type of communicaiton and prioroities managment has. It isn;t enough to just be able tolive in Santa Barbara. Peopl who are qualified should be respected even if they disagree with policy. Curb back the favoritism.


  8. "Good for Short Term/Seasonal Employment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Summer Camp Counselor
    Former Employee - Summer Camp Counselor
    Recommends

    I worked at Santa Barbara Zoo part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Fun people to work with
    -Beautiful location (you get to walk around outside every day)
    -Great summer job for young person wanting some extra money
    -Good hours (done by early afternoon)

    Cons

    -Education department management was not great (they would rather keep campers' parents happy at any cost than support their counselor staff)
    -Low pay

    Advice to Management

    Education Dept Management: support your counselors - they are doing all the hard work! Zoo management in general: keep up the good work


  9. "Good but unorganized"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Santa Barbara Zoo part-time

    Pros

    Great coworkers and a fun/friendly enviorment. It can be very fast paced and there is always somthing new going on. The longer you worker the easier and better it gets. Working in retail here is great.

    Cons

    It can be very disorganized between departments and within departments (usually GS). Managers know whats going on but they usually dont communicate. They weren't very good at training, you mostly had to learn by asking for help and making mistakes. You are often given very vague or rushed instrustions and then mangers get annoyed when you have to keep asking questions. Not being trained correctly is especially difficult when there is often new policy/new things to know everyday. The lack of communication can mean you get in trouble for something you were never told.

    Advice to Management

    Unless you are working nearly everyday it is hard to keep up with the updates/ things that are happening on any particular day you are working. Most of this would be solved with better training or weekly memos for individual departments, not just the whole zoo.


  10. "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Zoo Keeper
    Current Employee - Zoo Keeper
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Santa Barbara Zoo full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    One of the best teams in the zoo world, constantly trying to learn and improve. A great focus on professional development.

    Cons

    The pay is not high enough for the area, so there is consistent turn-over

    Advice to Management

    Pay does not match price of area. No where near.


  11. "High Expectations, Low Pay"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Santa Barbara Zoo part-time

    Pros

    -Get to go behind the scenes of the zoo

    Cons

    -Gossipy coworkers
    -Ineffective Management
    -Extremely high demands for little pay

    Advice to Management

    Higher wages


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