Accreditation

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.

Message 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 Denny Lewis, Sr. Vice President of Accreditation Programs, at dlewis@aza.org or by calling 301-244-3365.

AZA Accreditation Commission
 

Update on Status of Currently Accredited Institutions and Certified Related Facilities

AZA has made the decision to postpone all inspections of currently accredited institutions and certified related facilities for the remainder of the year. This decision was made in light of the current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic we are all dealing with worldwide, in consideration of the safety of our dedicated accreditation inspectors, and to allow our members the time, resources and energy they need to focus on managing and recovering from this extraordinary situation. As a result of this decision, AZA has also extended the accreditation period for the majority of our accredited and certified members for one year. To be sure of your institution’s expiration date, please check the Institution Status page, or contact AZA accreditation staff.

April 2020 Accreditation Results

AZA is pleased to announce the results of the Accreditation Commission hearings held in April 2020.

We would like to welcome two new member institutions: Atlantis, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Honolulu Zoo, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Accredited for another cycle were: Abilene Zoo, Abilene, Texas; Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Ariz.; Caldwell Zoo, Tyler, Texas; Discovery Cove, Orlando, Fla.; Disney's Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Fla.; Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Jacksonville, Fla.; Landry's Downtown Aquarium Denver, Denver, Colo.; Landry's Downtown Aquarium Houston, Houston, Texas; Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Conn.; San Diego Zoo, San Diego, Calif.; San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido, Calif.; Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara, Calif.; SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.; SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, Calif.; St. Augustine Alligator Farm, Saint Augustine, Fla.; Virginia Living Museum, Newport News, Va.; Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga.; Zoo Knoxville, Knoxville, Tenn.; Zoo Miami, Miami, Fla.; ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Tampa, Fla.

Certified for another cycle was: Lubee Bat Conservancy, Gainesville, Fla.

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: 2020 Accreditation Standards

The 2020 edition of the Accreditation Standards and Related Policies is now available. For 2019, the Standards have also been translated into Spanish.  Click here for the translated edition!  For all other current accreditation materials click here.

Quarter Century Award

Congratulations to Cameron Park Zoo, Chahinkapa Zoo, Sequoia Park Zoo, Texas State Aquarium, and ZOOAMERICA North American Wildlife Park, the 2020 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.

Contact Us

Have a concern or compliment about an AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium or an AZA-certified related facility that you have recently visited? AZA-accredited institutions are dedicated to maintaining or exceeding AZA standards every day. If a concern is received related to an AZA-accredited facility, as the accrediting body we will work with the institution to make certain that all AZA accreditation standards continue to be maintained. When a compliment is received, we share it with the institution's staff.

Compliments, concerns, and any supporting documentation should be submitted in writing to azaaccreditation@aza.org. Concerns may also be submitted to: Accreditation Department, AZA, 8403 Colesville Road, Suite 710, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910.


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