March 31, 2023

Virginia Aquarium Continues to be Among the “Best of the Best” in the Country

Virginia Aquarium Earns Prestigious Accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Seal Feeding at the Virginia Aquarium

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center was first accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 2007 and this week, that accreditation was again successfully granted! AZA member institutions are required to repeat the entire accreditation process every five years to assure that they are upholding the continuously evolving standards, incorporating best modern zoological practices in animal welfare and management, and embracing modern AZA philosophies.

In December, the AZA independent zoo and aquarium professionals completed a week-long inspection of the Aquarium. They examined buildings, habitats, and grounds, observed the animals, reviewed all financial documents and education and conservation programs, interviewed staff and volunteers, read through the Aquarium’s standard operating procedures, and reviewed the strategic plan and future master plans. This week, the AZA Accreditation Committee met with Virginia Aquarium Director Cynthia Spanoulis and other Aquarium leadership for the official accreditation hearing.

The AZA is the primary accrediting body for zoos and aquariums in North America and its accreditation process is one of the most thorough and rigorous in the zoo and aquarium world. Fewer than 10% of the nearly 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture have received AZA accreditation.

Congratulations to all the dedicated staff of the Virginia Aquarium for upholding the high standards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and thanks for continuing to be a jewel in the crown of Virginia Beach attractions. Learn more about the aquarium at

Be part of an award-winning, accredited organization. Your best job yet is at the City of Virginia Beach. Find your next career move at

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Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

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