The NEW Zoo & Adventure Park has earned the Quarter Century Award from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The award is presented to organizations who have maintained 25 years of continuous accreditation. The NEW Zoo was first accredited in 1996.
Accreditation is a process by which a program, organization, or institution is evaluated by recognized experts in the profession, and is measured against the established standards and best practices of that profession. Overseeing this process in AZA is the Accreditation Commission- a group of sixteen experienced and trained experts in operations, animal welfare and husbandry, and veterinary medicine. These experts are sworn to maintain complete impartiality in their judgements and to thoroughly examine each zoo or aquarium that applies for AZA accreditation to determine if AZA standards are being met. Only those zoos and aquariums that earn AZA accreditation can become members of AZA.
No one knows more about a profession than those who are part of it and who live it every day. AZA has been the primary accrediting body for zoos and aquariums for over 40 years. U.S. agencies such as OSHA and the USDA consider AZA standards as the “national” standard, and they refer to AZA standards when evaluating institutions. AZA’s rigorous, scientifically based and publicly-available standards examine the zoo or aquarium’s entire operation, including animal welfare, veterinary care, conservation, education, guest services, physical facilities, safety, staffing, finance, and governing body. AZA standards are performance-based to allow them to be applied to a variety of different situations and cases. AZA is continuously raising its standards as science continues to learn more and more about the species in our care. Accreditation is rescinded if AZA standards are not maintained.
Fewer than 10% of the approximately 2,800 animal exhibitors that are licensed by the USDA are accredited by the AZA.