Press Room

If you are a member of the media and would like more information about the Little Rock Zoo, the Arkansas Zoological Foundation or the exciting new things happening at the Little Rock Zoo, please call our main line at 501.661.7200 and ask for our press department to register your contact information for media updates. The Little Rock Zoo sends up-to-date press releases and announcements on a regular basis. There’s always something new and exciting at the Zoo!

Zoo Receives AZA Accreditation

PHOENIX, AZ (September 11, 2012) -- The Little Rock Zoo is proud to announce that it received accreditation today from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). 

The accreditation hearing for the Zoo was held in Phoenix at the annual meeting of AZA.

The Zoo was tabled at last year's hearing over concerns for the Zoo's long-term financial stability.  A passage of a one cent sales tax for the City of Little Rock last September gave the Zoo $1.6 million for operations and $8 million over 10 years for capital improvements.  The accreditation committee was pleased with the progress the Zoo had made in hiring new staff, particularly in the Zoo's education department, and felt confident that the Zoo had a stable long-term plan for financial security. 

Accreditation is granted every five years by AZA.  The Zoo was accredited in 2001, 2006, and tabled for accreditation in 2011.  The tabling of the Zoo's accreditation meant the Zoo still maintained accreditation but would be required to appear before the committee again the following year to report progress on major concerns of the committee.

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.

About the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)

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