Georgia Aquarium Receives Fourth Consecutive Accreditation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Prestigious recognition highlights commitment to animal welfare and conservation initiatives.

In an important recognition of its commitment to exceptional animal welfare, conservation, and educational initiatives, Georgia Aquarium has once again been accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the organization announced yesterday.  This prestigious accreditation underscores Georgia Aquarium’s adherence to the highest standards in the zoological community.

The Aquarium was first accredited by the AZA in 2008 and subsequently in 2013 and 2018, affirming its status as an elite institution and a beacon of excellence and inspiration for others in the zoological field. AZA’s standards are continuously revised to reflect cutting-edge zoological practices based on the latest animal well-being science and research.

“Accreditation by the AZA is not merely a badge of honor; it’s a clear indication of our unwavering commitment to the highest standards of animal care and welfare,” said Brian Davis, Ph.D., President and CEO of Georgia Aquarium. “This recognition further fuels our dedication to conservation and showcases our efforts to provide educational and inspiring experiences for our guests.”

AZA accreditation requires a thorough review, including an on-site, multi-day inspection by an independent team of zoological professionals who evaluated all aspects of Georgia Aquarium’s operations, including animal welfare and wellbeing; veterinary care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff, and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; financial stability; risk management; governance; and guest services. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years to meet evolving standards and maintain membership in the association.

“Conservation and the well-being of animals is at the core of everything we do.,” said Georgia Aquarium’s Chief Animal Officer, Michael Boos. “This accreditation is a testament to our team’s hard work, the innovative practices we employ to ensure the health and happiness of our animals, and the ongoing effort we put into global conservation initiatives.”

To learn more about Georgia Aquarium, click here.

Georgia Aquarium Receives First Gold Certification from WheelChariot

WheelChariot is a platform focused on improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

Georgia Aquarium has achieved a remarkable milestone by becoming the first Gold Certified organization recognized by WheelChariot, a pioneering platform dedicated to promoting accessibility for people with disabilities. This distinctive certification underscores the Aquarium’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity, making it a leading accessible destination in the Atlanta metro area.


WheelChariot is a local Georgia-based organization, founded by graduates from the Georgia Institute of Technology, whose focus is forming a more inclusive society where everyone has equal access to goods and services. WheelChariot’s platform provides businesses with the tools and insights needed to enhance accessibility and foster an environment of inclusion. By providing a unique opportunity for businesses to receive first-hand feedback, engage with and learn from a vibrant community dedicated to improving accessibility; WheelChariot helps businesses, like Georgia Aquarium, improve their accommodations based on real user experiences.


“We at WheelChariot are deeply grateful and immensely proud of Georgia Aquarium’s commitment to accessibility and inclusivity,” said Gabriel Jones, CEO of WheelChariot. “Their decision to trust in a homegrown initiative spearheaded by Georgia entrepreneurs speaks volumes of their dedication not only to superior guest experiences but also to fostering a supportive local community. As passionate advocates for Atlanta, we dream of seeing our beloved city become a leading hub for accessible tourism. Georgia Aquarium’s trailblazing achievement in receiving the first WheelChariot Gold Certification not only marks a significant milestone in their journey towards inclusivity but also sets an exemplary model for others. We fervently hope that their leadership and commitment inspire many more establishments to join us in this vital endeavor. Together, we can make Atlanta a beacon for accessibility and inclusivity, ensuring that every visitor, regardless of ability, enjoys the rich, diverse experiences our city has to offer.”


Through the WheelChariot for Business initiative, establishments like Georgia Aquarium not only have the opportunity to highlight their commendable efforts, but also gain public-facing certification. This certification allows businesses to proudly promote their commitment to inclusivity, assuring visitors of their dedication to providing accessible experiences for all.


In 2018, Georgia Aquarium became the first aquarium designated as a Certified Autism Center.

Last fall, it was named KultureCity’s Sensory Inclusive Venue of the Year for training more than 80% of staff and volunteers on compassionately and effectively working with guests on the autism spectrum and providing sensory features for those who need or want them. Georgia Aquarium is also honored to have hosted more than 2,900 military personnel and guests who have been physically, emotionally, or mentally wounded through their Veterans Immersion Program, offering swims or dives 365 days a year. Now, being recognized as the first WheelChariot Gold Certified organization the Aquarium’s hopes to continue expanding efforts to make their facility accessible to all by setting the example of best practices. This Gold Certification recognizes Georgia Aquarium’s exceptional efforts to make their facility accessible to all through the wide range of accessibility measures, including but not limited to: providing wheelchairs, golf carts, tactile and specialized exhibit information, and a sensory room. The Aquarium’s encounter programs are also all designed with accessibility in mind, ensuring every guest the opportunity to participate in these experiences.


“We are honored to be the first organization to receive Gold Certification from WheelChariot,” said Sam Herman, director of guest programs at Georgia Aquarium. “Every year, we see millions of guests come through our doors. Our commitment to accessibility extends beyond the basics, demonstrating our passion for providing a memorable and enriching experience for every visitor. Georgia Aquarium’s mission is to inspire awareness and preservation of our aquatic world, and we believe that every individual, regardless of their abilities, should have the opportunity to be a part of this mission.”


Georgia Aquarium’s journey toward achieving WheelChariot Gold Certification reflects on their incredible dedication to creating a more accessible and inclusive environment for guests with disabilities. With this new achievement, Georgia Aquarium aims to set a new standard for accessibility in the metro Atlanta community.


Together, WheelChariot and Georgia Aquarium are taking a significant step forward in setting a higher standard for accessibility in Atlanta, and hope this certification serves as an inspiration for other businesses looking to promote accessibility and inclusivity.


To learn more about Georgia Aquarium’s accessibility offerings, please visit


For more information about WheelChariot, please visit


For photos and videos, please see below:



For further information or media inquiries, please contact:

Gabriel Jones

CEO, WheelChariot

(678) 730-4778


Hannah Hardwick

Public Relations Specialist, Georgia Aquarium

Evoqua Names Georgia Aquarium Winner of Second Annual Water Sustainability Award

PITTSBURGH—March 22, 2019—Evoqua Water Technologies (NYSE: AQUA), an industry leader in mission critical water treatment solutions, today named Georgia Aquarium the recipient of the Evoqua Water Sustainability Award for 2019. The award recognizes excellence in water stewardship, including companies using new or existing technologies in innovative, sustainable ways and companies that have made significant strides in water reduction.

Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, is committed to working on behalf of all marine life through education, preservation, exceptional animal care and research across the globe. With hundreds of exhibits and tens of thousands of animals across seven major galleries, Georgia Aquarium must maintain life support system (LSS) processes that ensure the water is clean and healthy. The LSS systems consist of a combination of sand filtration, protein skimming and ozone disinfection. On top of this, the LSS team at Georgia Aquarium has developed a process of denitrification using fiberglass-reinforced plastic vessels, custom-built by Evoqua’s Neptune Benson, that house beneficial bacteria.

This process reduces nitrates that form in the aquarium’s 6.3-million-gallon Ocean Voyager exhibit. A recent study showed that the types of bacteria in the denitrification vessels are nearly identical to those found in applicable natural marine settings.

“Preserving water—the world’s most valuable resource—is at the heart of everything we do at Evoqua,” said Ron Keating, Evoqua CEO. “Each year, we’re excited to honor an organization that prizes sustainability as much as we do. Georgia Aquarium’s extraordinary LSS processes have made it a water savings hero, and we’re proud to be part of its efforts to enrich life through smart water use.”

We are honored to be selected by Evoqua for this significant award that recognizes the hard work and dedication that goes into sustaining Georgia Aquarium’s Life Support Systems daily
- said John Masson, Director of Life Support Systems at Georgia Aquarium

The award will be presented to Georgia Aquarium at an event in April, timed around Earth Day.

For the second year, Evoqua employees nominated companies from among its 38,000-customer base for their sustainability efforts to treat, re-use, and conserve water. Other companies shortlisted for the award included Johnson & Johnson and Phillips66.

Johnson & Johnson has a long history dating back to the early 1990s of conscientious energy use, water conservation, and utility minimization. Projects across the globe (from Cork, Ireland, to Malvern, Pennsylvania, U.S.), use recovery Reverse Osmosis (RO) to minimize water consumption and discharge to publicly owned treatment works.

WRB Refining, a joint venture between Phillips 66 and Cenovus Energy, recently completed a project at its Borger, Texas refinery that proved 400 gallons per minute (gpm) water savings. The project focused on water with high silica and salt content that was causing cooling tower inefficiency through scaling and fouling. The project repurposed existing Evoqua Water Technologies Reverse Osmosis (RO) equipment to help clean up the feed quality of the refinery cooling tower water.

To further highlight the importance of preserving water on World Water Day, Evoqua today released an infographic highlighting the influence water has on business, industry and modern life, including:

Providing peak performance conditions for elite swimmers
Creating award-winning beverages and ensuring food safety
Producing microchips and solar cells
Creating safe and sterile healthcare environments
To learn more about Evoqua and World Water Day, and to download the infographic, visit Evoqua’s World Water Day page.

Evoqua services more than 200,000 installations across the globe. For this reason, Evoqua understands the profound impact of providing solutions that ensure its customers and partners meet or exceed their sustainability goals. For more information on Evoqua’s sustainability efforts, as well as more information on the finalists, visit

This article was published on: June 25, 2019

Georgia Aquarium Earns Prestigious AZA Accreditation

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that AZA’s Accreditation Commission has accredited Georgia Aquarium.
“Only the very best zoos and aquariums can meet the ‘gold standards’ set for accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “By achieving AZA-accreditation, Georgia Aquarium demonstrates that it is committed to exemplary animal care and welfare, educational and inspiring guest experiences, and supports AZA’s mission to conserve our world’s wild animals and wild places.”

To be accredited, Georgia Aquarium underwent a thorough review to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in categories which include animal care and welfare, 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.

Being an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is not only an honor, but a testament to our commitment to the care of all animals. We look forward to our continued successes with AZA in the world of animal care and conservation.
- Joseph Handy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Georgia Aquarium

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 and welfare; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and more. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s 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.

Georgia Aquarium received its first accreditation from the AZA in 2008 and was accredited again in 2013. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete the accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.

“Being an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is not only an honor, but a testament to our commitment to the care of all animals,” said Joseph Handy, president and chief operating officer of Georgia Aquarium. “We look forward to our continued successes with AZA in the world of animal care and conservation.”

The AZA inspection committee noted that Georgia Aquarium’s new sea lion presentation, Under the Boardwalk, is “well done, interactive, and engaging, presenting strong conservation messages.” Georgia Aquarium also conducts “outstanding conservation research-focused on increasing knowledge and understanding of animals within their care.” While additional strengths were noted, Georgia Aquarium was also commended for its reuse of salt and freshwater that significantly reduces water consumption. The Aquarium continues efforts to conserve water and electricity.

Please contact Georgia Aquarium at 404-581-4000 for additional information about the facility, including special events and activities for visitors and its ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation and science education. For updates, follow Georgia Aquarium on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For exclusive behind-the-scenes content, subscribe to Georgia Aquarium’s new Facebook Watch series, Aquarium Love Stories.

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