AZA's accreditation ensures Birch Aquarium meets ever-rising
standards in areas such as animal care, conservation, and education.

AZA Renews Birch Aquarium Accreditation

Designation maintains recognition of aquarium’s ‘ever-rising standards’

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, continues to remain one of the nation’s top aquariums.

In March 2014, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, earned accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) for a third consecutive five-year cycle. The accreditation process includes a detailed application and meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. To remain accredited, Birch Aquarium at Scripps underwent a thorough investigation that ensured it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in areas such as animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. Since 1998, Birch Aquarium at Scripps has been accredited by AZA, which requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to remain members of the association.

“Only zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “The community should take great pride in knowing that Birch Aquarium at Scripps is a proven leader in the care and conservation of wildlife, and in inspiring people to take action to protect the natural world.”

In addition to the application and inspection, the accreditation process included interviews of top aquarium officials at a formal commission hearing. In a report presented to Birch Aquarium leadership in February summarizing its findings, the committee noted areas of particular achievement, such as the aquarium’s “exceptionally diverse” animal collection, which they noted is “in excellent condition” and well matched to the aquarium’s mission and purpose. The committee was also impressed by the aquarium’s continued ability to interpret complex Scripps Oceanography science into understandable and relatable content for the general public.

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation.  The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold, and raise the highest zoological and aquarium industry standards through self-evaluation, on-site inspection, and peer review.