AZA Grants Accreditation to Santa Barbara Zoo

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that the Santa Barbara Zoo was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.
“The Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredits only those zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “As a proven leader in the care and conservation of wildlife and education outreach, the Santa Barbara Zoo is ranked among the best zoos and aquariums in the world.”
To be accredited, the Santa Barbara Zoo underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care, 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 AZA accredited is important to the Santa Barbara Zoo because it recognizes our commitment to the highest quality of animal care, facilities for both animals and people, and public programs,” said Santa Barbara Zoo Director Nancy McToldridge. “The credit goes to our zoo’s dedicated professional staff, whose passion for saving and caring for the world’s animals shines through in everything they do. We have a terrific team, and it reflects well not only for our zoo, but for the accredited zoos and aquariums around the country.”
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; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and other areas. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent 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.
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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 seven 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“>


Press Contacts: Rob Vernon, AZA 301.244.3352,

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