The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that the National Aquarium was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission. The National Aquarium has been continually accredited by the AZA since 1984.
“The Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredits only those zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “By achieving AZA accreditation, National Aquarium demonstrates that it is dedicated to exceptional animal care, protecting species and educating visitors about the natural world.”
To be accredited, the National Aquarium underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet the Commission’s ever-rising standards, which includes animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety.
“The National Aquarium has met or exceeded the standards of excellence set forth by the AZA for more than 30 years,” said National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli. “We look forward to continuing a legacy of outstanding animal health and welfare, education and conservation work.”
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 observed all aspects of the institution’s operation, including animal care; staff training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and others. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled or denied.
AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.