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Garden Railroader

Garden Railroad Volunteers operate and maintain the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden's G-scale model trains and exhibit while talking to the public about the various trains in operation.

caption:A model train at the Botanic Garden

Garden Railroad Volunteer

18 and older

Minimum time commitment:
60 hours per year

Apply to be a Volunteer

Apply Here!

Contact Information

Volunteer Coordinator
[email protected]

Garden Railroad Volunteers operate and maintain the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden's G-scale model trains and exhibit while talking to the public about the various trains in operation.


  • Must be over 18 years old.
  • Have a friendly attitude, good communication skills and the ability to answer visitor questions.
  • Before running trains, volunteers must be comfortable with their operation and understand the significance of the plant collection. The required knowledge is taught.
  • As a safety precaution, all applicants are required to submit to a City of Albuquerque background check before they can begin volunteering.


  • Volunteers work in the Garden Railroad exhibit at the Botanic Garden. Volunteers add to our visitors' experiences by sharing details about the trains and G-scale railroad system.
  • General duties include maintaining the villages of Railroad Hill, operating trains, notifying staff if any problems occur, and answering visitor questions about the trains and the ABQ BioPark in general.

Minimum Time

  • Garden Railroad Volunteers may work anytime staff is operating the trains, Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Hours may vary based on the season and staff availability.
  • A regular weekly schedule is encouraged, but not required.
  • A minimum of 60 hours a year is required to receive recognition as a BioPark Education Volunteer. At least 30 hours must be spent working as a Garden Railroad volunteer; the remaining 30 hours may also be spent working in the Garden Railroad or doing support work for BioPark Education.
  • Volunteers are responsible for tracking their own hours on an honor system.


  • Training to become a Garden Railroad Volunteer begins with a required half day orientation that provides information about the BioPark and Garden Railroad Volunteer duties.
  • Additional training is on-the-job, working with staff and experienced volunteers to learn about the operation of trains and maintenance of the exhibit.
  • Experienced railroaders from the New Mexico Garden Railroad Club (NMGRR) must still attend a Garden Railroad training session before working in the Garden Railroad Exhibit.
  • Find upcoming training dates.


  • All BioPark Volunteers will be issued a Volunteer identification badge, which must be worn while a volunteer is on duty.
  • The BioPark Volunteer uniform consists of appropriate solid-colored clothing (blouse/shirt and pants/shorts/skirts).
  • Approved volunteer uniform colors include: black, brown, khaki and white. Colors must be solid with no prints or writing.
  • Denim overalls may also be worn. Comfortable shoes with good, non-slip tread are recommended.
  • Garden Railroad Volunteers are encouraged to wear a train engineer hat and neckerchief.
  • Volunteers are responsible for acquiring and wearing the BioPark Volunteer uniform while on duty.


  • BioPark Education Volunteers have the opportunity to do meaningful and gratifying education work with thousands of visitors to the BioPark, which is an important intangible benefit.
  • The volunteer identification badge allows the Volunteer free regular admission to all BioPark facilities (Zoo, Aquarium, and Botanic Garden).
  • Volunteers can receive a discount at food concessions and gift stores with their valid Education Volunteer ID during regular operating hours.
  • Volunteers are offered discounts to all fee-based BioPark Education programs and are invited to special Volunteer-only events throughout the year.
  • After the end of each calendar year, volunteers are awarded recognition items for their service, based on the completion of the minimum 60 hours of service.


Resources exist throughout the BioPark to help Volunteers fulfill their duties.

  • Education staff is available to provide assistance.
  • The Education libraries are located in the Zoo and Aquarium/Botanic Garden Education Buildings; they are a resource available to all BioPark Volunteers.
  • Monthly Education meetings are held on the first Thursday and first Saturday of each month, and all Volunteers are encouraged to attend. Meetings cover current BioPark happenings and facility-specific information. The same material is discussed at both sessions.
  • Volunteers are also invited to attend monthly Brown Bag Seminars following the meetings, as well as other lectures and workshops throughout the year.
  • Volunteers receive our monthly BioPark Volunteer update to stay current on all BioPark news, Education programs, events, and resources.
  • Information on current events is posted in the Volunteer Communication Room at the AQ/BG Education Building or in the Zoo Education Barn.


BioPark Education Volunteers are responsible for acquiring their own uniform clothing.

How To Apply

Complete and submit an online volunteer application.

Online volunteer application coming soon. Please contact the Volunteer Specialist.

Our Education Department will review your application and notify you about openings and training dates.

What to Bring

Bring a photo ID to accompany the background check form. A portion of this training is spent outdoors in the Garden Railroad, so please bring a water bottle, hat and sunscreen.