DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Scovill Zoo is celebrating after the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited the zoo earlier this week.

The accreditation process required that the zoo participate in a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals from the AZA and fill out a detailed application. The AZA team studied a number of aspects including the zoo’s operations regarding animal care and welfare, keeper training, financial stability, education programming, conservation efforts, risk management and the safety of staff, visitors and animals.

“The public expectations for animal care are constantly increasing, as are our own, which is why AZA’s accreditation standards are focused on providing the best animal care possible,” said AZA Presdient and CEO Dan Ashe. “Our rigorous accreditation standards evolve based on modern animal research, ensuring a process the public can trust. We applaud and admire these exceptional zoos, aquariums, and related facilities on meeting the ‘gold standard’ for a modern zoological facility.”

The accreditation Scovill Zoo earned is good for the next five years. The zoo will undergo the process again in 2027.

“We are happy to have earned another five years of AZA accreditation,” said Scovill Zoo Director Ken Frye. “I am proud of all the zoo staff, park district staff and zoo volunteers that worked so hard to make Scovill Zoo one of the gems of Central Illinois.”

The Decatur Park District will celebrate the zoo and its efforts at an adult-only event on Sept. 10. There will be food, drinks and one-of-a-kind animal experience with an auction at the end of the event. All proceeds from the event will go directly to the zoo to help them sustain and expand their efforts. Tickets for this event are available on the zoo’s website.