ZAA Awards

2021 Award Applications
Application deadline: July 31, 2021

2019 ZAA Award Winners

Educational Award of Excellence


San Antonio Zoo
Will Smith Zoo School

The ZAA Educational Award of Excellence recognizes outstanding achievement and innovation in education program design and implementation.  Through education, the Will Smith Zoo School provides children a foundation for a life based on love, respect, and protection of nature.  The school has educated over 200 students with nature-rich activities and experiences that will help secure a future for wildlife.  Will Smith Zoo School is the only preschool campus  in the country to earn LEED Platinum Certification.


Excellence in Breeding

Downtown Aquarium Houston
Common Shovelnose Ray, Glaucostegus typus

The ZAA Excellence in Breeding Award recognizes a truly momentous captive propagation achievement that enhances the conservation of the species, whether common or endangered, in captivity. The Downtown Aquarium Houston has had five successful birthing events of the common shovelnose ray, Glaucostegus typus, since 2014 and may be the only facility with a successful captive breeding of this species.  Due to the success of the program, 47 captive raised rays have been dispositioned to zoos and aquariums around the United States, which decreases the need for wild-caught specimens.


Significant Propagation and Long Term Commitment to a Single Species

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus

This award recognizes institutions that have reached significant propagation goals and have dedicated outstanding commitment to a single species.  Since the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center (FRWC) program began in 1985, more than 60 litters with a combined total of 201 cubs have been born at the center. Working with Smithsonian researchers, in 1992 FRWC has the first cheetah cubs born by artificial insemination in North America.  FRWC currently has 15 cheetah yards and typically houses 25-30 individuals.


Animal Exhibit Award of Excellence

ZooWorld Zoological and Botanical Conservatory
Allapattah Swamp Alligator Feeding Experience

The ZAA Animal Exhibit Award of Excellence recognizes excellence in the area of new and unique live animal display, exhibit design and construction.  The Allapattah Swamp Alligator Feeding Experience (ASFE) is a fully immersive, truly Floridian exhibit.  Home to 85 American alligators, Alligator mississippiensis, with the capacity to hold more than 100, the ASFE was the first major renovation completed at ZooWorld Zoological and Botanical Conservatory in over a decade.  Exhibit features include a 150-foot bridge over the center of the pond, providing excellent vantage points for viewing.


In Situ Conservation

Gulf Breeze Zoo
Spirit of Sumatra Program,
supporting Sumatran orangutan, Pongo abelii

The ZAA In-Situ Conservation Award recognizes significant contributions to enhancing the conservation of an animal species in nature. The Gulf Breeze Zoo’s Spirit of Sumatra program supports the Sumatran Orangutan Society and Yayasan Orangutan Sumtera Lestari Organziation in their efforts to purchase and reforest an 890-acre palm oil plantation on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park, Sumatra. 


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