Philadelphia Zoo Sweeps National Awards at Annual Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Conference

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Receiving Top Honors for Excellence in Marketing, Sustainability and Exhibit Design

Philadelphia Zoo announced today that it received “Top Honors” in multiple categories including Marketing, Sustainability and Exhibit Innovation at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Annual 2017 Conference, the largest, most comprehensive zoo and aquarium professionals’ event in the country.

As one of the country’s most pioneering animal conservation institutions, Philadelphia Zoo offers award-winning exhibits, outstanding education and conservation programs, exceptional guest services and a continued commitment to excellence. Acknowledged for these accomplishments at the AZA Conference, Philadelphia Zoo continues to set the standard for zoos around the globe.

“The AZA Marketing Excellence Award recognizes the originality and expertise of the marketing team at Philadelphia Zoo for creating engaging, imaginative messaging to share our mission and our stories with the public,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe.

In 2016, Philadelphia Zoo launched, “The Zoo Changes You” a campaign that highlights Philadelphia Zoo as an experience that changes visitors at their core – the way they see, enjoy and appreciate life. The campaign communicated ways in which the Zoo takes people out of their rigorously scheduled, screen-focused routine, to help people see how diverse and beautiful our world is, how important we are to one another and where we all fit within it. The message invites visitors to see themselves and one another anew-after looking through the eyes of their loved ones at the spontaneous and genuine ways animals interact, guests walk away with a refreshed perspective and a new appreciation for one another. In other words, The Zoo Changes You.

“Philadelphia Zoo brings animals and people together in a way most will never get to experience in their lifetime. With this campaign, we felt we had an opportunity to share how a visit to the Zoo has the ability to shift perspectives and help people appreciate the wonder and diversity of the planet we all call home,” said Philadelphia Zoo President and CEO Vikram H. Dewan. “In other words, we wanted to convey the idea that the Zoo really does change you.”

AZA’s Green Award recognizes outstanding environmental consciousness and green practices and programs that reduce the environmental impact of an organization. For decades Philadelphia Zoo has worked to build strong programs in animal care, education, and conservation aimed at accomplishing its mission: "By connecting people with wildlife, the Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats.” The Zoo serves this mission through an integrated conservation strategy that interweaves program areas with onsite operational sustainability to lead by example.

“Green business practices put the conservation mission of AZA and AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums into action. By reducing their environmental impact and incorporating innovative, sustainable programs into their daily operations, Philadelphia Zoo sets itself apart as a role model in green business practices,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe.

Through engagement at the Zoo, staff aims to influence visitor’s behavior at home towards pro-conservation action to slow climate change by empowering them with the proper tools and information. Philadelphia Zoo hired its first Sustainability Manager in 2008, and created a 10-year sustainability plan that same year. In 2013, the Zoo set 5 specific, measurable sustainability goals to achieve by 2018.

“Philadelphia Zoo recognizes that it has both a responsibility and unique platform to affect positive change for the wildlife and the planet , says Vikram H. Dewan, President and CEO of Philadelphia Zoo. “By using onsite energy-saving techniques and inspiring guests to do the same, the Zoo can deepen its conservation impact,” says Dewan.

Innovative Exhibit Design recognizes Philadelphia Zoo for its dedication and expertise in designing a unique, immersive habitat that provides the best in animal care as well as a superior educational experience for visitors,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe.

Zoo360 at Philadelphia Zoo is a network of multiple overhead and ground-level trails that connects many animal habitats encouraging animals to travel and explore across the campus. This globally groundbreaking approach to animal care has solidified Philadelphia Zoo as the leader in an ever-changing environment. Today, there are more multiple zoos across the globe using Zoo360 as the paradigm for which to imitate.

“We are very proud of our innovative work with Zoo360, as well in marketing and sustainability, said Vikram H. Dewan. We are honored to be recognized by our esteemed colleagues for our efforts to transform the animal/human experience. This award reflects vision, commitment and creativity and we’re excited to keep unveiling our innovative ideas and approaches to connecting people with their world,” said Dewan.

For more information visit or follow our social media channels: Twitter @PhillyZoo, Instagram @PhiladelphiaZoo and

Animals are on the move like never before at Philadelphia Zoo with Zoo360, a first-in-the-world system of see-through trails passing through treetops, crossing over pathways and connecting habitats, giving animals like amazing big cats, majestic primates and marvelous meerkats the opportunities to travel and explore. Visit our new baby western lowland gorilla, giraffes, hippos, polar bear, white rhino, zebras, red pandas, Amur tigers and more at America’s first Zoo. Explore our 42 acre Victorian garden and enjoy award-winning exhibits like KeyBank Big Cat Falls, PECO Primate Reserve, McNeil Avian Center and KidZooU, a wildlife academy that offers dynamic displays, rare breeds and hands-on experiences. Philadelphia Zoo is the second highest ticketed attraction in Philadelphia, one of the region's foremost conservation organizations and home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. By connecting people with wildlife, Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. The Zoo welcomed more than 1.25 million visitors last year. Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Philadelphia Zoo is a non-smoking facility. For more information on, as or to purchase and print tickets online, visit us at Facebook: PhiladelphiaZoo; Instagram: @philadelphiazoo; Twitter: @phillyzoo.

About AZA:
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 seven 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


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Dana Lombardo
Philadelphia Zoo
+1 (215) 243-1100 Ext: 5305
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since: 04/2009
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