Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Announces Recipients of Quarter Century Award

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
Direct: 502-238-5331  |  Media Only: 502-744-5639

CONTACT: Rob Vernon, AZA

Award recognizes 25 years or more of continuous AZA accreditation

Silver Spring, Maryland (January 6, 2016) – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the primary accrediting body for top zoos and aquariums in the United States since 1974, announced today the recipients of the Association’s Quarter Century Award. Established in 2015, this new award acknowledges facilities that have maintained AZA accreditation continuously for 25 years or more, highlighting their commitment to animal care, welfare, conservation, education, and more. The inaugural group of 119 awardees includes many facilities that have successfully achieved AZA accreditation well beyond the 25 year mark. The Louisville Zoo was the 35th Zoo to ever receive accreditation back in 1980. At present, there are 230 accredited institutions.

“AZA is dedicated to ensuring that the highest standards in the zoological profession are met, and this means that the accreditation process is therefore quite rigorous,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “The fact that these aquariums and zoos have maintained continuous AZA accreditation for 25 years or more is an extraordinary achievement that deserves to be celebrated,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy.

“We are honored to receive this award, but more importantly we are proud to care for our precious animal ambassadors with the highest AZA standards,” Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak adds. “We are dedicated to maintaining these standards and I want to commend the staff for all of their efforts to uphold the best modern zoological practices and philosophies that are the hallmarks of accreditation.”

To be accredited, AZA-accredited facilities have completed a thorough review to ensure that they meet and will continue to meet rising standards, which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.

The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operation, including animal care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and other areas.  Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied.  Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.

Recipients of AZA’s Quarter Century Award will receive a plaque honoring their achievement. The list of facilities continuously accredited by AZA for 25 years or more is as follows:

 Institution Year of Initial Accreditation
 Abilene Zoological Gardens 1985
 Akron Zoological Park 1989
 Albuquerque Biological Park 1981
 Alexandria Zoological Park 1986
 Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 1983
 Audubon Zoo 1981
 Bergen County Zoological Park 1986
 Binder Park Zoo 1983
 Blank Park Zoo 1987
 Brandywine Zoo 1986
 BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo 1977
 Bronx Zoo 1979
 Brookfield Zoo/Chicago Zoological Society 1986
 Brookgreen Gardens 1983
 Buffalo Zoo 1981
 Busch Gardens (Tampa) 1985
 Caldwell Zoo 1985
 Calgary Zoo 1978
 Cape May County Park Zoo 1989
 Central Florida Zoo 1986
 Central Park Zoo 1989
 Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Park 1983
 Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden 1978
 Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 1982
 Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland 1987
 Columbus Zoo and Aquarium 1980
 Como Park Zoo and Conservatory 1986
 Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo 1987
 Dallas Zoo 1985
 David Traylor Zoo of Emporia 1985
 Denver Zoological Gardens 1976
 Detroit Zoological Society 1985
 Dickerson Park Zoo 1986
 El Paso Zoo 1980
 Ellen Trout Zoo 1983
 Erie Zoo 1985
 Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo 1976
 Fort Worth Zoological Park 1977
 Fossil Rim Wildlife Center 1986
 Fresno Chaffee Zoo 1979
 Gladys Porter Zoo 1978
 Greenville Zoo 1988
 Henry Vilas Zoo 1976
 Henson Robinson Zoo 1986
 Honolulu Zoo 1986
 Houston Zoo, Inc. 1985
 Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc. 1981
 International Crane Foundation 1987
 Jackson Zoological Park 1989
 Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens 1987
 John Ball Zoological Gardens 1983
 John G. Shedd Aquarium 1978
 Kansas City Zoo 1984
 Knoxville Zoological Gardens 1984
 Lee Richardson Zoo 1986
 Lincoln Park Zoo 1976
 Living Desert, The 1983
 Los Angeles Zoo 1979
 Louisville Zoological Garden 1980
 Maryland Zoo in Baltimore 1980
 Memphis Zoo 1981
 Miller Park Zoo 1978
 Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens 1976
 Minnesota Zoological Garden 1980
 Monterey Bay Aquarium 1986
 Mystic Aquarium 1984
 National Aquarium 1984
 National Aviary 1984
 New York Aquarium 1984
 North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher 1990
 North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores 1990
 North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island 1990
 North Carolina Zoological Park 1984
 Northwest Trek Wildlife Park 1985
 Oakland Zoo 1988
 Oglebay’s Good Zoo 1986
 Oklahoma City Zoological Park 1981
 Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium 1983
 Oregon Zoo 1974
 Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park 1989
 Peoria Zoo 1981
 Philadelphia Zoo 1974
 Phoenix Zoo 1981
 Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium 1983
 Potawatomi Zoo 1987
 Potter Park Zoological Gardens 1986
 Racine Zoological Gardens 1986
 Reid Park Zoo 1983
 Riverbanks Zoo and Garden 1979
 Roger Williams Park Zoo 1986
 Roosevelt Park Zoo 1988
 Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park 1987
 Sacramento Zoo 1979
 Saint Louis Zoo 1977
 Salisbury Zoological Park 1976
 San Antonio Zoological Society 1975
 San Diego Zoo 1977
 San Diego Zoo Safari Park 1977
 San Francisco Zoological Gardens 1977
 Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens 1982
 Seattle Aquarium 1979
 SeaWorld Orlando 1983
 SeaWorld San Antonio 1990
 SeaWorld San Diego 1981
 Sedgwick County Zoo 1982
 Seneca Park Zoo 1979
 Smithsonian National Zoological Park 1977
 St. Augustine Alligator Farm 1988
 Staten Island Zoo 1988
 Sunset Zoological Park 1989
 Toledo Zoological Gardens 1976
 Tulsa Zoo 1976
 Utah’s Hogle Zoo 1979
 Vancouver Aquarium 1975
 Virginia Zoological Park 1987
 Wildlife Safari 1986
 Woodland Park Zoological Gardens 1982
 Zoo Atlanta 1987
 Zoo Miami 1984

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and seven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit