The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) announced this week that the Oregon Coast Aquarium was once again 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 Interim President and CEO Kris Vehrs. “By achieving AZA-accreditation, Oregon Coast Aquarium demonstrates that it is dedicated to protecting species and educating its visitors about the natural world.”
The Aquarium been accredited by AZA since 2000, but the certification must be renewed every five years. To renew its accreditation, the Aquarium underwent a rigorous investigation to ensure it continues to meet ever-rising standards in animal and veterinary care, conservation, education, and safety. “We seek this oversight of our operation to ensure we offer the best possible experiences for our animals, guests and staff,” said Carrie Lewis, President/CEO of the 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 training; visitor, staff and animal safety; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and other areas.
Following their visit, the inspection team prepares an extensive written report for the Accreditation Commission. Then top officials are interviewed at a formal Commission hearing, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Monitoring does not stop once accreditation is earned, as an AZA member, the Aquarium is subject to surprise inspections at any time.
“AZA sets the global standard for elite zoos and aquariums. We are honored to remain a member, and will continue to strive to exceed best practices,” Lewis said. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the only AZA-accredited aquarium in the state of Oregon and is consistently ranked as one of the ten best in the nation. To learn more, or plan a visit to experience this top Oregon tourist attraction for yourself, visit aquarium.org.
Information provided by OCA.