RELEASE: Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredits the Museum of Life and Science for another five years
May 16, 2022
For Immediate Release: May 16, 2022 | 11 am
Matt Pusateri, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
(919) 220-5429 x390
DURHAM, NC – Last month, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) voted to accredit Durham’s Museum of Life and Science for another five years. This second AZA accreditation affirms that the Museum continues to be among the worldwide leaders in animal care and welfare. AZA represents more than 235 facilities in the United States and overseas that meet the highest standards in animal care and welfare. Fewer than 10% of the 2,800 animal exhibitors in the United States earn accreditation, a process requiring months of preparation, site improvements, documentation, on-site inspection, and a formal hearing.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to earn AZA accreditation once again,” said Carrie Heinonen, President and CEO of the Museum. “It shines a light on the tremendous work of our animal care team and the Museum staff who work hard every day to make this one of North Carolina’s top attractions.”
“Getting AZA accreditation is rigorous, and the standards continue to evolve, ensuring animal welfare remains at the forefront of our process,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA. “Our standards are comprehensive, and our process is thorough, objective, and independent, with membership measured against a commitment to meeting the “gold standard” for a modern zoological facility.”
The AZA has accredited less than 10% of the 2,800 animal exhibitors in the United States. The accreditation process required months of preparation, site improvements, documentation, a three-day on-site inspection by AZA officials, and a formal hearing at the organization’s mid-year meeting.
In addition to noting the Museum’s high standards of animal care, AZA also recognized its leadership and innovation in nature play, outdoor learning programs, and accessibility for visitors. The Museum, it noted in its final report, “is highly unique within AZA and is extraordinarily innovative in its approach toward nature play and outdoor immersion.” It noted that “public accessibility to interactive exhibits and the campus is a major focus of the museum in their design process and in practice (way beyond what is required by regulatory agencies.)”
“We’re committed to the safety and welfare of the animals and each other. AZA accreditation affirms this.” said Sherry Samuels, the Museum’s Director of Animal Care. “Animals have been part of the Museum experience since we opened our doors in 1946. So we’ve spent the last eight decades sharing wonders of the animal world with millions of visitors. It’s an essential part of who we are and why this Museum is such a special place.”
About the Museum of Life and Science
Located less than five miles from downtown Durham, the Museum of Life and Science is one of North Carolina’s top family destinations. Our 84-acre campus includes a two-story science center, one of the largest butterfly conservatories on the East Coast, and beautifully landscaped outdoor exhibits. Our interactive experiences include Dinosaur Trail, Ellerbe Creek Railway, Hideaway Woods, Into the Mist, Earth Moves, and Aerospace, which features one of the largest collections of Apollo-era NASA artifacts in the state. The Museum is also an AZA-accredited zoo, home to rescued black bears, lemurs, endangered red wolves, and more than 60 species of live animals. Last year, the Museum celebrated its 75th anniversary and its ongoing commitment to the communities of Durham, the Triangle, and North Carolina. To learn more, visit lifeandscience.org.