AZA Accreditation

We are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums!

AZA the gold standard for animal care and welfare

After a detailed review and evaluation process, the Brandywine Zoo was awarded the gold standard of achievement—accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This is the mark of excellence that assures the public that the Brandywine Zoo meets or exceeds professional standards in animal care, education, visitor services, programming, and conservation. The Brandywine Zoo has been continuously accredited since 1986.

The AZA has been the primary accrediting body for zoos and aquariums for over 40 years. U.S. agencies, such as OSHA and the USDA, consider AZA standards as the national standard, and they refer to AZA standards when evaluating institutions.

The Brandywine Zoo was granted accreditation by the AZA Accreditation Commission after a detailed review process that analyzed all aspects of the facility’s operation, including animal welfare and well-being; veterinary care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff, and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; financial stability; risk management; governance; and guest services.

The accreditation was ceremoniously awarded at the 2022 National Conference of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on August 27 in Baltimore, Maryland. There are currently 238 AZA-accredited facilities and 15 AZA-certified related facility members throughout the U.S. and 12 other countries.

Not all zoos pass the test and meet the standards of the AZA. It’s a big deal! It demonstrates that we are committed to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for the visitor, and a better future for all living things. Less than 10% of animal exhibitors in the US are accredited. The Brandywine Zoo is the only animal care facility in Delaware to meet the rigorous AZA accreditation standards.

To maintain accreditation, we will undergo the scrutiny of the AZA Accreditation Commission again in five years. The Brandywine Zoo first achieved AZA accreditation in 1986 and has been continuously accredited since then with rigorous reviews every five years.

The Brandywine Zoo has changed since its last accreditation review six years ago (the AZA postponed reviews for one year due to covid). We have a new multi-species Madagascar habitat, new animal care center, increased ADA accessibility, and many behind the scenes and public area facility updates. These changes are energized by the zoo’s master plan and the fundraising push for Our Zoo Re-imagined that envisions many future changes at the Brandywine Zoo.

Congratulations to us… and to you. We are an AZA-accredited zoo.

3 ring-tailed lemurs eating leaves

AZA Accredidation

The Brandywine Zoo was awarded Accreditation at the AZA 2022 National Conference. Left to Right: Lauren Barczak, Curator of Education and Conservation, Brandywine Zoo, Ray Bivens, Director, DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation, Brint Spencer, Director, Brandywine Zoo, and Mark Shafer, Executive Director, Delaware Zoological Society.