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Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo are both accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Accreditation Commission. Of the approximately 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture, fewer than 10 percent have AZA accreditation.

What is AZA?

Founded in 1924, the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, now known as the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation.

What is accreditation?

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums undergo a rigorous six-month long review as well as an on-site inspection by a team of experts who examine the animal collection; veterinary care;  exhibits and physical facilities; safety; security; finances; staffing and involvement in education, conservation and research. Once awarded, accreditation must be renewed every five years.

About accreditation and certification

The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold and raise the highest zoological and aquarium industry standards through self-evaluation, on-site inspection and peer review. AZA maintains two credentialing programs: 

  • Accreditation for Institutional members (zoological parks and aquariums)
  • Certification for Related Facility members (wildlife refuges, conservation research facilities, survival or rehab centers, breeding farms, educational organizations, etc.)

In developing its credentialing programs, AZA has been especially concerned with the need for assuring the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. It is our belief that this objective is paramount in the operation of collections of living creatures and that good conscience permits no higher priority.

Accreditation or certification is mandatory for any organization holding wildlife that desires membership in AZA. Accreditation or certification is good for five years. Once granted, there is no guarantee the credential will be renewed during subsequent inspections. Standards are subject to continuous review and enhancement, requiring increased levels of professional commitment to achieve and maintain accreditation or certification. Once accredited or certified, an organization is expected to continuously advance its professional operation and constantly maintain, or surpass, all professional standards, policies, guidelines or resolutions adopted by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

AZA Accreditation requires that institutions follow the guidelines of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Guidelines for Zoo and Aquarium Veterinary Medical Programs and Veterinary Hospitals regarding medical programs and zoo hospitals.