Desert Museum Earns Meritorious AZA Accreditation

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) has announced that the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission. 

“The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is among the outstanding aquariums and zoos that have met or exceeded our rigorous accreditation standards,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “The people who live in Tucson can be assured that the Desert Museum is providing the highest-quality animal care and welfare and is contributing to initiatives that save animals from extinction.”

To be accredited, the Desert Museum underwent a thorough review to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in categories which include animal care and welfare, 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.  

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 facility’s operation, including animal care and welfare; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and more. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied.  Any facility that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.

“I, the Board of Trustees, and all the staff and volunteers of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, are extremely pleased to hear that the Museum has, once again, earned accreditation through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The AZA is the gold standard for the zoological industry and maintaining accreditation is critical to the credibility of the Museum and all its sister organizations, as we remain steadfastly focused on our critical conservation mission.” – Craig Ivanyi, Executive Director. 

About AZA

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 11 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

About Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: 

Focused on the preservation of the Sonoran Desert, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum will turn your idea of a museum inside out. Set on a 98-acre botanical garden, a two mile walking trail features 230 animal species, an art gallery, an aquarium, educational activities, one of the world’s most comprehensive regional mineral collections, and more. Ongoing conservation and research programs enhance everything we do. For more information about the Museum, visit

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