Turtle Back Zoo has earned accreditation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ independent Accreditation Commission, recognizing an institution’s commitment to providing quality animal care, education programs and promoting conservation. AZA made the announcement during its annual convention on Wed., Sept. 7 in San Diego, Calif.
This is the third consecutive five-year accreditation that Turtle Back has received. It became an accredited facility for the first time in its history in 2006 and the accreditation was renewed in 2011.
“Maintaining accreditation is very important because it demonstrates to our visitors our commitment to providing the highest level of care and safety for our animals,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
“We have been committed to making Turtle Back Zoo a modern, first-class facility that is safe for the animals and an exciting place for people of all ages to visit,” Turtle Back Zoo Director Brint Spencer said. “Earning AZA accreditation for a third time is a tremendous accomplishment and is an indication of the high quality of care we give to our animals and the dedication of our keepers, staff and volunteers,” he added.
The accreditation process, which occurs every five years, 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 in areas such as 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. The inspection team prepares an extensive written report for AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission. Top officials are then interviewed at a formal commission hearing, after which accreditation is granted, tabled or denied.
The Zoo is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $11 for children and senior citizens, and free for children younger than two. For more information, call 973-731-5800 or visit www.essexcountynj.org/turtlebackzoo.