Managing Animal Enrichment and Training Programs

Hosted by Denver Zoo
Denver, CO
Fall 2022

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


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

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.

Course Schedule  

First Day
 - Student registration
 - Opening evening reception
 - Courses meet for individual opening session/class

- Class meets all day at the Zoo

Last Day
- Class meets all day at the Zoo
- Students transported back to hotel

Attendance for course participants is required for the duration of the course until late afternoon of the last day (typically by 4PM but the schedule is subject to change - students will be notified of scheduled times once admitted).  

Course Travel & Tuition

Travel and Accommodations 

Denver International Airport (DEN) is the closest airport, approximately 40 minutes from the Denver Zoo.  

Course participants stay nearby the Denver Zoo and are transported to the classroom on zoo property via charter bus each day.  

General Hotel Pricing*:
$134+ Single Occupancy
$144+ Double Occupancy 
$149+ Triple Occupancy
$154+ Quadruple Occupancy
-All rooms have two queen beds- 

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.

Tuition & Expenses* 

The AZA registration fee below covers tuition and lunches for each day of the course. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and other meals. Registration prices are subject to change. 
Scholarship funding for courses is available through a competitive process. AZA scholarship applications are due by mid-July and are awarded by early September. 

AZA Accredited / Certified Institutions*
Early Bird Rate:
 12 weeks prior to course start date
$1150 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1350 without Qualifying Individual Membership

Regular Rate: 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1350 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1550 without Qualifying Individual Membership

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

Individuals Not Employed at an AZA-accredited or Certified Insitution*
Early Bird Rate:
 12 weeks prior to course start date
$1350 with Professional Associate Membership

Regular Rate: 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1550 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. 

*Prices are subject to change 

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.

Registration Details

To register with a credit card
You may now register and pay online with a credit card! Non-members can log in too, after creating a free account. After logging in, choose "Professional Development" from the menu on the left. Next, click on the title of the event for which you would like to register. Finally, choose "Event Registration" from the options at the top and complete the registration process. When registering online, there is no need to submit the registration form. You will receive an acceptance email or wait list email once acceptance decisions are made. 

To register with a check or purchase order
Please email your request to register, specifying the course and the name of whom you would like to register, to the Professional Development Coordinator ( 
Cashing your check does not indicate that you have been accepted into a course. You will receive an acceptance email or a wait list email once acceptance decisions are made. If you are not admitted into the course from the waitlist, a full refund will be issued within 45 days following the course event. For more information regarding 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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