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Sustainability Awards

Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Green Award

In 2011, Denver Zoo became the first recipient of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Green Award, recognizing the Zoo’s green programs that exist institution-wide to reduce the environmental impact of the organization from a business operations standpoint. It also recognized the Zoo’s commitment to continuous evaluation and improvement and that our conservation mission begins with how we operate our facilities.

Water Reuse "Customer of the Year Award" 

Recipient of the Water Reuse Association Customer of the Year Award. This international association is dedicated to advancing water reuse and desalination and recognized the zoo's successful and innovative use of reclaimed water.

Sustainability Champion Team Award

Denver Zoo's Work Place Conservation Committee was the recipient of the 2010 Sustainability Champion Awards from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, ColoradoBiz, and the Colorado Environmental Partnership, partnered with Connected Organizations for a Responsible Economy (CORE). Denver Zoo was recognized for leadership in developing a formal program that focused on positive actions towards the environment, economy, society, innovation and education.

2015 Awards & Honors


Marketing and Public Relations each won a Gold Hermes Creative Award for the identity design package for the Zoo’s annual fundraiser, Do at the Zoo, and for the best media placement for a Denver Post article about our LEGO® exhibit, respectively.

2014 Awards & Honors


Denver Zoo’s member publication, ALIVE, won the 2014 Hermes Creative Award at the platinum level for the “Writing/Publication Overall” category. The honor is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional materials and programs and emerging technologies. ALIVE, first published in April 2013, was created to tell deeper, audience-based stories and celebrate life in all its forms, whether it walks, runs, crawls, flies, slithers, hops or swims. Special thanks to Cactus Communications for the publication’s design. 

2013 Awards & Honors

Way to Go Employer Champion Award

Denver Zoo is a recipient of DRCOG’s Way to Go Employer Champion Award for recognition as an organization that has made a difference in providing programs and incentives for staff to use alternative transportation, and promoting the participation of alternative transportation as part of staff everyday commutes

2012 Awards & Honors

AZA Reaccreditation

Accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) ensures the highest level of excellence in animal care, exceeding professional standards for animal welfare and management, veterinary care, behavioral enrichment, nutrition and staff training. AZA accreditation standards exceed currently established local, state and federal guidelines. AZA continually monitors accredited organizations and every accredited zoo and aquarium must go through the entire process every five years.

Denver Zoo underwent a thorough review that included a detailed accreditation application as well as a multiple-day on-site inspection by a team of experts from around the country to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards for animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety.

LEED® Certification

Denver Zoo’s Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit achieved LEED certification at the platinum level, the highest level granted, by the U.S. Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Toyota Elephant Passage is the first large animal exhibit complex in the country to achieve the certification. The achievement is no small feat. The zoo attained the certification with the use of renewable energy, recycled water, natural daylight and ventilation, efficient heating and cooling systems and other green design and construction practices. The certification was awarded to the entire 10-acre Toyota Elephant Passage complex, which includes more than 10 major buildings. Achieving LEED Platinum was truly a team effort; the LEED accredited professionals that are responsible for this great accomplishment include members of the design team from CLR Design, RMH Mechanical Engineers, Kiewit Building Group and Denver Zoo’s internal design staff.

Grand Conceptor Engineering Excellence Award, ACEC/CO

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado (ACEC/CO) announced its 2013 Colorado Engineering Excellence Awards winners at a gala event held November 5, 2012. The Engineering Excellence Award’s top honor, the Grand Conceptor, was given to Denver Zoo and The RMH Group for the Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit. RMH handled the mechanical and electrical engineering, and energy modeling, for the new 10-acre exhibit. This award is only presented when one project in the entire field receives extremely high judging scores that are well above all the other entries. Projects were evaluated and ranked based upon originality or innovative application of new or existing techniques; future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public; social, economic and sustainable design considerations; complexity; and exceeding client/owner needs.

Engineering News-Record (ENR) Mountain States Best Projects, Sports/Business

Denver Zoo and The RMH Group were honored again for the Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit, winning in the Best Project Category, receiving Special Judges’ Recognition as one of three Best Overall Regional Project finalists and winning in the Sports/Entertainment category.

Best Attraction & Best Event Space without a Hotel – Colorado Meetings + Events

For the third year in a row, Denver Zoo won the best attraction and meeting space in Denver in the Colorado Meetings + Events magazine 7th Annual Readers’ Choice “Best Of” Awards. The zoo also took top honors for Best Event Space without a hotel. In 2012, Denver Zoo hosted 180 private corporate events.

Advertising Awards

Working with Cactus Communications, Denver Zoo created an award-winning advertising campaign for Toyota Elephant Passage. The illustrative campaign earned a Silver District ADDY and Ad Club Denver: Denver 50 - One of the best ideas in 2012. Cactus and the zoo also received three awards from the Art Director’s Club of Denver honoring the campaign’s illustration, broadcast TV design and Facebook app “What animal are you?”

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