Managing Animal Enrichment and Training Programs

Date TBD

Managing Animal Enrichment and Training Programs provides students with the tools and skills needed to set up and manage a successful enrichment and training program that meets AZA accreditation standards. While some time will be spent on the concepts of training and enrichment, this course is not a workshop to develop enrichment ideas or learn animal training skills. This course focuses on developing the components of a successful program and learning the leadership skills needed to successfully implement that program.

Course Objectives

Students will understand the AZA accreditation standards related to animal welfare, enrichment and training. This includes:

  • Understanding what to expect during an inspection

  • The components of a successful program

  • The documentation required for accreditation

  • Definitions of commonly used terms

  • The importance of considering natural history and the background of individual animals

  • Basic concepts of enrichment and animal training

  • Discussion of new ideas and trends relating to animal welfare, training, and enrichment

  • The importance of goal setting, planning, implementation, documentation, evaluation, and readjustment

  • Safety considerations for training and enrichment

  • Problem-solving process for addressing behavior issues and animal management challenges

Students will understand the importance of leadership skills in developing a successful program and be able to demonstrate and apply those skills at their institution. These skills include:

  • Feedback and coaching

  • Meeting facilitation

  • Team building

  • Effective communication skills

Course Schedule

First Day
 - Arrival on Monday, November 7
 - Course activities, including student registration, begin after 4 PM
 - Opening evening reception
 - Courses meet for individual opening session/class

- Class meets all day 

Last Day
- Class meets all day 
- Closing reception

Attendance for course participants is required for the duration of the course until late afternoon on the last day (typically by 4:00 PM but schedules are subject to change - students will receive scheduled times once admitted to the course).


Hollie Colahan, VP of Living Collections - Birmingham Zoo
Marty MacPhee, Guest Animal Experience Manager - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Beth Posta, Curator of Behavioral Husbandry & Research - Toledo Zoo
Marcia Salverson, Assistant Curator of Primates - Denver Zoo
Lori Semple
, Senior Aquarist - SEA LIFE Charlotte -Concord Aquarium

Is This Course Right For You?

This course is designed for managers, curators, and directors that currently are or will be managing an enrichment program at their institution. Keepers, aquarists, trainers, and educators will find this course useful in implementing programs in their work areas.

Employment at a zoo or aquarium. Priority will be given to AZA members, but volunteers and private animal trainers are welcome to attend. Those not affiliated with an AZA-accredited institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis; please submit a letter describing your intended benefit from taking this course to for consideration.

Travel & Accommodations

Air Travel
Lambert Saint Louis International Airport (STL) is the closest airport.

Classes meet on site at Crowne Plaza Clayton in St. Louis, Missouri and course participants are encouraged to stay on site. The hotel rate is $117 per night, and reservations can be made online until October 9th. For more information, please email

Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive an email containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted.

Course Registration

AZA Accredited / Certified Institutions*
Early Bird Rate:
 Deadline 12 weeks prior to course start date
$1125 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1325 without Individual AZA Membership

Regular Rate: Deadline 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1325 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1525 without Individual AZA Membership

Individual Membership must be Professional Affiliate or Professional Fellow to qualify.

Non-AZA Institutions
Early Bird Rate:
 Deadline 12 weeks prior to course start date
$1325 with Professional Associate Membership

Regular Rate: Deadline 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1525 with Professional Associate Membership

Individual Membership Requirement
Staff from non-AZA accredited institutions must have an individual AZA membership to apply and register for an AZA course.

For information regarding our registration and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page. Accepted forms of payment for registration are by credit card, check, or purchase order.


For information regarding our code of conduct, registration, and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page.

Questions? For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department.

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