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AZA Accreditation

AZA Grants Accreditation to the Virginia Living Museum

March 31, 2014

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that the Virginia Living Museum was 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 President and CEO Jim Maddy. “As a proven leader in the care and conservation of wildlife and education outreach, the Virginia Living Museum is ranked among the best zoos and aquariums in the world.”

“We are thrilled to be granted accreditation for another five-year cycle. It is a testament to the museum’s excellent animal care and operations from the preeminent authority in our industry,” said Virginia Living Museum Executive Director Page Hayhurst. “The museum’s staff is committed to making us the best, and it shows.”

To be accredited, the Virginia Living Museum underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care, 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 institution’s operation, including animal care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and other areas. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.

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. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, please visit

The Virginia Living Museum is a private non-profit museum and education center that has been in operation since 1966 with a mission of connecting people to nature through educational experiences that promote conservation. Visitors to the museum see more habitats, wildlife and plant species than would be encountered in a lifetime of outdoor adventures in Virginia. The exhibits showcase all of the state’s regions from the upland coves of the Appalachian Mountains to the salty offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean and feature more than 250 different animal species. The Museum’s unique exhibits are also a vital component in its extensive education programming. The Museum believes in hands-on education; that by experiencing science it will become memorable. The Virginia Living Museum has been accredited by AZA since 2009 and by the American Alliance of Museums since 1976.

The Virginia Living Museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News. For more information call 757-595-1900 or visit






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