Veterinarian with African penguin chick

SAN FRANCISCO (September 17, 2019) – The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) has announced that Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.

“Only the very best aquariums and zoos can meet AZA’s accreditation standards for animal care and welfare, conservation, education, and more, which are the most rigorous in the profession,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “By achieving AZA accreditation, Steinhart Aquarium demonstrates a commitment to protecting animals around the world and inspiring their guests to do the same.”

To be accredited, Steinhart Aquarium 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; aquarium biologist 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.

“From giving an albino alligator his annual physical to caring for newly-hatched African penguin chicks, each day at Steinhart Aquarium provides new and exciting opportunities to deliver exceptional animal care to some of our planet’s most diverse and charismatic species,” says Bart Shepherd, Senior Director of Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences. “I’m privileged to work alongside a dedicated and highly-skilled team of biologists, veterinarians, scientific divers, and aquarium engineers who are passionate about the health, wellbeing, and conservation of the live animals in our care, and we’re very proud to be an AZA-accredited institution.”

About the California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in scientific research and education—all under one living roof. Hours are 9:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Saturday, and 11:00 am - 5:00 pm on Sunday. Admission includes all exhibits, programs, and shows. For daily ticket prices, please visit or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.

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 eleven 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

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