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. 

March 2023 Accreditation Results

AZA is pleased to announce the results of the Accreditation Commission hearings held in March 2023 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Accredited for the first time was: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Powell, Ohio

Continuing accreditation for another cycle are: Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco, Calif.; Atlantis, Paradise Island, Paradise Island, Bahamas; Dallas Zoo, Dallas, Texas; Fundación Temaikèn, Escobar, Argentina; Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles, Calif.; Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, Calif.;  National Aquarium, Baltimore, Md.; New England Aquarium, Boston, Mass.; North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach, N.C.; North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, Pine Knoll Shores, N.C.; North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, Manteo, N.C.; Palm Beach Zoo, Palm Beach, Fla.; Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix, Ariz.; Seneca Park Zoo, Rochester, N.Y.; Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nev.; South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston, S.C.; Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, Virginia Beach, Va.

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.
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