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Shark Watching

Shark watching at the Newport Aquarium


AZA is committed to promoting high standards of excellence in all aspects of conservation education. Accreditation Standards and Board-Approved Policies have been established to ensure this objective is achieved and often evolve to meet increasingly rigorous criteria. AZA member volunteers work collaboratively within AZA Committees, Animal Programs, and Scientific Advisory Groups to provide valuable visitor research data, educational information, resources, planning tools, and activities to enhance conservation education for kids and families, enrich Animal Programs, augment resources for educators, and promote careers in zoos and aquariums.

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums play a vital role in educating over 175 million visitors, and 12 million students in the classroom or in the field, about wild animals, their habitats, their related conservation issues, and the ways in which they can contribute to their preservation. Over the past ten years, AZA-accredited institutions have also trained more than 400,000 teachers with award-winning and proven science curricula.

Kids and Families

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are some of the best places for families to spend time together, gain emotional ties to wildlife, foster appreciation for the natural world, and engage in conservation initiatives. Information about animals, animal enrichment, and proper pets as well as how to locate AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, obtain free admission, adopt an animal, or volunteer are provided. Read more about Kids and Families.

Education Advisors

Education Advisors play a critical role in and serve as consultants within AZA Animal Programs for topics and issues related to conservation education, community outreach, and public awareness and assist with the design and execution of the Animal Program’s conservation and management goals. Read more about Education Advisors.

Educator Resources

The conservation education programs of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums enhance the public’s understanding of wildlife and the need to conserve the places animals live. Information, protocols, and tools are provided to help educators manage program animal presentations, deliver consistent conservation messages, and supply thematic educational activities and serve to augment education program planning and raise public awareness about, and actions towards, conservation concerns. Read more about Educator Resources.

Visitor and Public Research

AZA conducts substantial research to gain a better understanding of how visits to AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are interpreted and valued by their visitors. A multi-year study entitled “Why Zoos & Aquariums Matter: Assessing the Impact of a Visit to a Zoo or Aquarium” measured the impact of a visit to a zoo or aquarium on visitors’ beliefs about conservation, stewardship and their love of animals. Additionally, an extensive public survey entitled “America and the Ocean” measured public awareness, attitudes, and behaviors concerning the ocean, environment, and climate change. Read more about Visitor and Public Research.

Careers in Zoos and Aquariums

Individuals who work in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are passionately committed to the animals in their care and to the critical need for conserving wildlife and wild places. Information and resources about who works in zoos and aquariums, position types, and internships are provided.  Read more about Careers in Zoos and Aquariums.