Denver Zoo Announces AZA Accreditation

Denver Zoo has been continuously accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for more than 40 years

We’re thrilled to announce that Denver Zoo has achieved accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). This prestigious accreditation reflects our unwavering commitment to animal care, wildlife conservation, education, science, and recreation. We’ve undergone an extensive and comprehensive evaluation of our operations and programs, resulting in a well-deserved five-year accreditation. This reaffirms our position as one of the top zoos in North America and a leader in animal care and conservation. Denver Zoo has maintained its status as an AZA-accredited facility since it was first accredited in 1976.

“AZA accreditation is the ultimate stamp of approval for our profession, and assures our guests and members that we’re providing the best possible care for our animals and creating a safe, enjoyable experience for our community. We’re beyond proud to be among the very few zoos and aquariums in the world that maintains such a high standard across our programs and operations.”  
Bert Vescolani, President & CEO of Denver Zoo.

It’s worth noting that fewer than 10 percent of the 2,800 wildlife exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Animal Welfare Act meet the comprehensive standards of AZA accreditation. As an accredited organization, we’re subject to evaluation every five years by a team of expert inspectors who assess animal welfare, care, and management, including living environments, social groupings, health, and nutrition. They also evaluate all other aspects of our operations, from our involvement in wildlife conservation and research to our guest services, education programs, and finances.

We believe this accreditation process is of utmost importance. Every year, AZA sends over 200 accreditation inspectors worldwide to review applications, and we have nearly 40 facilities participating in our Pathway Toward Membership program, reflecting the growing significance of independent accreditation. AZA’s standards are continually updated to incorporate cutting-edge zoological practices based on the latest animal well-being science and research, attracting the best-of-the-best zoos and aquariums to be part of our association.

In addition to our AZA accreditation, Denver Zoo earned the American Humane Certified™ seal in 2020 for our exceptional treatment of the animals in our care. This achievement, similar to an AZA inspection, required us to pass rigorous, expert third-party audits. We join a distinguished group of leading zoological institutions that have received the American Humane Certified™ designation.