Silver Spring, Maryland (April 2, 2018) – 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.

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. While Georgia Aquarium is proud to be AZA accredited, we do not currently participate in reciprocal memberships. A Georgia Aquarium admission ticket or membership is needed for every guest.

About AZA

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


Georgia Aquarium is a leading 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Atlanta, Ga. that is Humane Certified by American Humane and accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Georgia Aquarium is committed to working on behalf of all marine life through education, preservation, exceptional animal care, and research across the globe. Georgia Aquarium continues its mission each day to inspire, educate, and entertain its millions of guests about the aquatic biodiversity throughout the world through its hundreds of exhibits and tens of thousands of animals across its seven major galleries.

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