The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Honors Philadelphia Zoo with a Significant Achievement Exhibit Award for the McNeil Avian Center

(October 8, 2010) - The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) honors the Philadelphia Zoo with the Significant Achievement Exhibit Award for its McNeil Avian Center. With this award, the AZA recognizes excellence in the area of live animal display and exhibit design by an AZA accredited organization both nationally and internationally.

The $17.5 million McNeil Avian Center, which opened at the Zoo in May 2009, incorporates lush walk-through habitats where visitors can discover over 100 spectacular birds from around the world, many of them rare and endangered. The exhibit immerses visitors in exotic landscapes full of color and sound, with birds including fantastic rhinoceros hornbills, striking Victoria-crowned pigeons and nest-crazy hammerkops. Closer to home, in the multi-sensory 4-D Migration Theater, viewers follow Otis the Oriole on his first migration south from where he hatched in Fairmount Park.

The McNeil Avian Center also highlights the Zoo’s involvement in two significant field conservation projects that protects birds both here and abroad: Guam Bird Rescue Project and bird banding.

"The McNeil Avian Center is truly a one-of-a-kind experience,” says CEO, Vikram H. Dewan. “We are thrilled that our exhibit has been recognized by the AZA. We are also proud of the Zoo for continuing its mission which includes a commitment to conservation for animals all around the world and excellence in every way.” says Dewan.

The Philadelphia Zoo, known for world-class exhibits, was also honored in 2007, when its Big Cat Falls exhibit received Exhibit of the Year from AZA. “We are committed to connecting and inspiring our guests through these tremendous exhibits,” says Dewan.