CT's Beardsley Zoo receives AZA accreditation

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has been granted accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Fewer than 10% of the approximately 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture are AZA-accredited. There are 223 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.

“As a leading family destination, entertaining and educating the public are our top priorities,” said Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “However, unlike many other attractions, our exhibits feature live animals and that carries very important responsibilities.

“It is an honor for us to receive this designation again,” Dancho continued, “because it means that we are among the very best in visitor experience, animal care, education, and conservation.”

Underwent a thorough review

To be accredited, Beardsley Zoo underwent a thorough review involving animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety.

To be AZA members, zoos and aquariums must successfully complete the accreditation process every five years. This includes a detailed application, on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals, and interviews of an applicant’s top officials at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.

AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy said by meeting the group’s accreditation standards, the Bridgeport facility “sets itself apart as one of the top zoos in the world. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a leader in the care and conservation of wildlife, and in educating people about the natural world.”

About the 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 six other countries. The AZA is a leader in saving animal species. Learn more at www.aza.org.

About the Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Adult admission (ages 12 older) is $12, children (ages 3 -11) and senior admission (62 and older) is $10, and children under 3 years old are free. Zoo members also are admitted free. Parking at the zoo is free of charge.

The zoo features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. This includes Amur (Siberian) tigers, Brazilian ocelot, red wolves, and golden lion tamarins.

Other highlights at the facility are the South American rainforest and free-flight aviary; prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas; New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep and other barnyard critters; hoofstock trail with bison, pronghorn and deer; indoor carousel, and outdoor picnic grove.

Find out more at www.beardsleyzoo.org.