Silver Spring, Maryland (October 5, 2018) – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the primary accrediting body for top zoos and aquariums in the United States since 1974, announced that the Tennessee Aquarium has received the Association's Quarter Century Award. This award acknowledges facilities that have maintained AZA accreditation continuously for 25 years or more, highlighting their commitment to animal care, welfare, conservation, education, and many other areas.
The AZA Accreditation Quarter Century Award was established in 2015, with an inaugural group of 119 awardees recognized in the first year. Tennessee Aquarium which first became accredited in 1993, is among 131 facilities to have received this award.
“The fact that the Tennessee Aquarium has maintained continuous AZA accreditation for 25 years is proof of its long-term commitment to meeting the highest standards in the zoological profession,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “We are pleased to recognize Tennessee Aquarium for this achievement and proud to count them among our accredited members.”
To be accredited, AZA-accredited facilities have completed a thorough review to make certain they meet and will continue to meet rising standards, which include animal welfare and 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 welfare and 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.
To learn more about AZA’s Quarter Century Award and previous recipients, visit https://www.aza.org/what-is-accreditation.
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 eight 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 www.aza.org.