Akron Zoo receives national recognition from Association of Zoos and Aquariums


The Akron Zoo was recognized on a national level during the 2022 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Conference in late August. The zoo received top honors in marketing, plus zoo president and CEO, Doug Piekarz, was sworn in to serve on the AZA Board of Directors. 

As a member of the Board of Directors, Piekarz will help guide the largest accrediting organization for professional zoological parks and aquariums, with accredited facilities across 14 countries. Through the accreditation program, AZA advances the care and wellbeing of animals, along with the conservation of species.

The Akron Zoo was also awarded the prestigious top honors in marketing for the zoo’s Wild Asia marketing campaign. The AZA Marketing Award recognizes marketing campaigns developed and executed by its AZA member institutions. The campaign must utilize a marketing mix with a minimum of three communication channels, such as television, radio, print, outdoor, internet, direct mail or other media. 

The Wild Asia campaign ran during the summer of 2021 to advertise the opening of the Lehner Family Foundation Wild Asia, a brand-new area at the Akron Zoo that featured Sumatran tigers, red pandas and white-cheeked gibbons. The campaign helped the zoo return to pre-pandemic attendance numbers in 2021, with a 235% increase in attendance from 2020. 

“We are grateful to have received the AZA marketing award for our Wild Asia campaign. This campaign really made an impact for the Akron Zoo and our mission, not just locally, but nationally as well,” said Piekarz. “Additionally, I am honored to have been elected to serve on the AZA’s Board of Directors. I am looking forward to the opportunity to help shape the future of accredited facilities and working together to save wildlife and wild places across the world.”