The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has announced the results of its September accreditation hearings. Twenty-four zoos and aquariums across North America were granted AZA accreditation by its independent Accreditation Commission.
"Only the very best zoos and aquariums can meet and maintain AZA accreditation standards, " said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "AZA accreditation is an important assurance to the public that these institutions will provide a high-quality experience for them when they visit, and that they have met the highest standard in every aspect of their operations."
All twenty four institutions underwent a detailed investigation to ensure they have and will continue to meet ever-rising standards which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process in order to be members of the Association which they then have to resubmit to this process every five years. AZA currently has 217 members.
The following institutions earned accreditation:
Blank Park Zoo – Des Moines, IA
Bronx Zoo – The Bronx, NY
Brookgreen Gardens – Pawleys Island, SC
The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House – St.Louis, MO
Buttonwood Park Zoo – New Bedord, MA
Calgary Zoo – Calgary, Canada
Chattanooga Zoo – Chattanooga, TN
Chehaw Wild Animal Park – Albany, GA
Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland – Allenwood, PA
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo – Bridgeport, CT
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo – Fort Wayne, IN
Henry Vilas Zoo – Madison, WI
International Crane Foundation – Barraboo, WI
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore – Baltimore, MD
Milwaukee County Zoo – Milwaukee, WI
Oglebay’s Good Zoo – Wheeling, WV
Oklahoma City Zoo – Oklahoma City, OK
Peoria Zoo – Peoria, IL
Queens Zoo – Flushing, NY
Riverside Zoo – Scottsbluff, NE
Rosamond Gifford Zoo – Syracuse, NY
Seneca Park Zoo – Rochester, NY
Smithsonian National Zoo – Washington, DC
Virginia Zoo – Norfolk, VA
"Visiting AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums is more than a great day out with the family, " Maddy added. "It’s an opportunity to connect with nature. And, every visit supports important global wildlife conservation efforts."
The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold, and raise the highest zoological and aquarium industry standards through self-evaluation, on-site inspection, and peer review. The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operation in areas such as animal care (including living environment and daily enrichment), keeper training, safety for animals, staff and visitors, educational programs, conservation efforts, veterinary programs, financial stability, risk management, visitor services, and other areas.
The inspection team produces an extensive written report for the Accreditation Commission. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal Commission hearing, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made. For more information, see AZA’s Accreditation Standards and Related Policies.
About the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, the AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.