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AZA Grants Continued Accreditation to the Great Plains Zoo

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) announced that the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission. Fewer than 10% of American zoos and aquariums have met the high standards for AZA accreditation, and the Great Plains Zoo has been an accredited member of the AZA for the past 26 years.

“The Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredits only those zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards and are proven leaders in the care and conservation of wildlife,” said AZA Principal Executive Vice President Kris Vehrs. “When people visit the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History, they are not only supporting the work of a strong conservation organization but they are also taking action themselves in learning more about these species so we can all make a positive impact on protecting their future.”

“The Great Plains Zoo is honored to receive recognition from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,” said Elizabeth A. Whealy, President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History. "Our Zoo staff works tirelessly to maintain the profession’s highest standards and achieve our mission of connecting the public to the natural world through education, conservation, recreation and discovery.”

To be accredited, the Great Plains Zoo underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet rising standards, which include animal care, 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 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 Zoo officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied.

The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Visit the Zoo online at www.greatzoo.org or call 605-367-7003 for more information about the Zoo and Museum.

About the Great Plains Zoo

The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a greater understanding of our natural world through education, conservation, recreation and discovery. The Great Plains Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) – a leader in wildlife conservation. Less than 10% of animal institutions in the United States have met the high standards for AZA accreditation.

About the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

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 eight 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 www.aza.org.

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  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor FSioux Falls
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N
  • A really great zoo featuring some exotic species and I liked the focus on conservancy/breeding to preserve species for the rhinos. The safari area's cheetah was awesome to see. During a week day going, it was quite open to walk around and enjoy without too much crowding.

    Joseph H
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world. ¬†The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones. ¬†Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T
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