AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums undergo a thorough review that includes a detailed accreditation application as well as a multiple day on-site inspection by a team of experts from around the country. Learn more about the AZA Accreditation process.

Special Thank You to Inspectors From the Accreditation Commission During COVID-19 Recovery

We’d like to extend a special thank you to those individuals who have selflessly participated in on-site inspections in order to keep our accreditation program moving forward. Your courage, dedication, and professionalism is greatly appreciated, and our program couldn’t move forward without you. Thank you.

Message to AZA-Accredited/Certified Facilities from the Accreditation Commission During COVID-19 Recovery

Dear AZA-Accredited Facility Leaders:

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had dramatic impacts on the zoo and aquarium community.  AZA has taken actions to help ameliorate these impacts, including extending the accreditation period by one year for most currently accredited facilities.  Some members have expressed concerns about undergoing the accreditation process during this time of uncertainty.  AZA accreditation is the standard that sets our members apart, and we expect AZA-accredited facilities to continue to meet our standards, particularly in animal care & welfare, veterinary care, and safety, even during these challenging times.  However, please be assured that the Accreditation Commission will take these unparalleled circumstances into account when evaluating cases during this period, and will be flexible and understanding in our judgment, including the use of progress reports to monitor and assess a facility’s recovery over time.  The AZA Accreditation Commission strongly supports your efforts to navigate these uncharted waters, and we recognize the need for flexibility and understanding in these unprecedented times.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact AZA Accrediation Programs staff at

AZA Accreditation Commission

Accreditation is Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is a top priority for all AZA-accredited facilities.  Excellence in animal welfare is the underlying foundation on which all AZA standards and practices are premised and developed.  Click here for an explanation of how welfare is woven throughout the AZA Accreditation Standards and Related Policies. 

August 2022 Accreditation Results

AZA is pleased to announce the results of the Accreditation Commission hearings held in September 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Accredited for the first time was: Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Sanibel, Fla.; Wonders of Wildlife, Springfield, Mo.

Continuing accreditation for another cycle are: Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward, Alaska; Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham, Ala.; Brandywine Zoo, Wilmington, Del.; Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo, N.Y.; Capron Park Zoo, Attleboro, Mass.; Detroit Zoo, Royal Oak, Mich.; Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown, Pa.; Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, Yellowstone, Mont.; Lake Superior Zoo, Duluth, Minn.; Lee Richardson Zoo, Garden City, Kan.; Lincoln Children's Zoo, Lincoln, Neb.; Little Rock Zoo, Little Rock, Ark.; Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Eatonville, Wash.; Oregon Zoo, Portland, Ore.; Red River Zoo, Fargo, N.D.; Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Toronto, Canada; Rolling Hills Zoo, Salina, Kan.; Scovill Zoo, Decatur, Ill.; SEA LIFE Aquarium at Legoland California Resort, Carlsbad, Calif.; SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, Auburn Hills, Mich.; SeaWorld San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas; Trevor Zoo, Millbrook, N.Y.; Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange, N.J.; the Wilds, Cumberland, Ohio; Wildlife Safari, Winston, Ore.

Certified for the first time was: Rivendale Wildlife Sanctuary, Bulger, Pa.

Continuing certification for another cycle are: Duke University Lemur Center, Durham, N.C.; Endangered Wolf Center, Eureka, Mo.

For a complete list of all AZA-accredited institutions and AZA-certified related facilities click here.

Accreditation Resource Center

Please be sure to visit the Accreditation Resource Center where you will find examples of institutional documents and policies that are required for AZA accreditation.  The Resource Center will continue to be populated with more documents, but many examples and guidelines are available now!

Update: 2023 Accreditation Standards

The 2023 edition of the Accreditation Standards and Related Policies is now available. For 2023, the Standards have also been translated into Spanish, French, and Arabic. The Guide to Accreditation is now available in Spanish. For all other current accreditation materials click here.

Quarter Century Award

Congratulations to Brevard Zoo, Dallas World Aquarium, the Florida Aquarium, and Hutchinson Zoo, the 2022 Quarter Century Award recipients, for achieving this impressive milestone! 

Animal Care Manuals

Accreditation standard 1.2.1 requires institutions to have copies of all approved AZA Animal Care Manuals (ACMs) for species within their collections, and to ensure that all animal care staff has access to them. For more information and a list of approved ACMs, click here.

AAM Offers Streamlined Accreditation Process For AZA-Accredited Institutions

The American Alliance of Museums and AZA have collaborated on a streamlined AAM accreditation process for institutions that are accredited by AZA and wish to obtain accreditation from AAM. Please click here for the related news release, and here for a FAQ sheet.

Upcoming Reviews

We welcome your comments regarding the AZA members and prospective members under review for accreditation or certification at the next meeting of the AZA Accreditation Commission.
I Accept

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.