Learn about Audubon Nature Institute
Audubon Nature Institute is a 501(c)3 not for profit that operates a family of ten museums and parks dedicated to nature. We serve our visitors, our community and our world as an educational resource, an environmental guardian, a leader in economic development and a venue for family entertainment. The success of the Audubon family lies within the individual strengths of its facilities. Working together, they are helping to create a bright future for generations to come.
Audubon Nature Institute's purpose of Celebrating the Wonders of Nature is woven into our vision of creating a family of museums and parks dedicated to nature. This vision is fulfilled by eight objectives that support our mission:
- Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality
- Exhibit the diversity of wildlife
- Preserve native Louisiana habitats
- Educate our diverse audience about the natural world
- Enhance the care and survival of wildlife through research and conservation
- Provide opportunities for recreation in natural settings
- Operate a financially self-sufficient collection of museums and parks
- Weave quality entertainment through the guest experience
The museums and parks Audubon Nature Institute operates on behalf of Audubon Commission include:
- Audubon Park and Riverview
- Audubon Zoo
- Woldenberg Riverfront Park
- Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
- Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center
- Entergy Giant Screen Theater
- Audubon Louisiana Nature Center
- Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species
- Audubon Wilderness Park
- Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation. As part of AZA's mandatory accreditation process, AZA members like Audubon Nature Institute meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, veterinary care, wildlife conservation, scientific research, education, expert staffing and safety.
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums—such as Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas—are leaders in the protection of endangered species. Twenty years ago, AZA established the Species Survival Plan Program™ (SSP), which is a long-term plan involving conservation breeding, habitat preservation, public education, field conservation, and supportive research to ensure survival for many of the planet's threatened and endangered species. Currently, AZA members are involved in 116 SSPs working on behalf of 172 species.
Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things.
In December 2015 Audubon Zoo received the AZA Quarter Century Award recognizing the Zoo’s 25 years of continuous accreditation. The award states “Audubon Zoo’s dedication to best modern zoological practices and philosophies is a hallmark of AZA accreditation, and we applaud your continuous commitment to uphold AZA standards and policies.”
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Magic, wonder, connection—Audubon Nature Institute attractions inspire these feelings. Connection to nature; a sense of wonder at the incredible world around us; the magic of the continuing circle of life—each visit to an Audubon attraction is filled with all this.
Audubon's guests have grown to expect the sense of wonder that comes with the discovery of new and exciting features. These capital projects are important for a number of reasons. New features throughout Audubon Nature Institute generate visitation, which in turn generates revenue to keep Audubon at the leading edge of conservation, education and quality family attractions. New projects implement the latest in enrichment and technology, incorporating newest and best practices in management for Audubon's cherished collection of animals, many of which are critical to breeding programs to stem the tide of extinction. These projects also fuel the economy of our region, providing jobs and economic impact.
Capital Projects in Construction:
- Shark Touch Pool
- Tropical Bird House at Audubon Zoo
Capital Projects Being Planned for the Future:
- Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife Phase II
- Conversion of Governor Nicholls/Esplanade Wharves to public park and recreational facilities
- 2019: Lions Habitat at Audubon Zoo
- 2018: Jaguar Jungle II with Nocturnal House opens at Audubon Zoo.
- 2018: Planetarium opens at Audubon Louisiana Nature Center.
- 2017: Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife Phase I.
- 2017: Audubon Louisiana Nature Center buildings, Botany Center, and nature trails reopen.
- 2017: Cooper Plaza Elephant Fountain Sculptures, Mechanical, and Rockwork.
- 2016: New Elephant exhibit and Bamboo Village Asian Discovery Trail opens at the Zoo.
- 2015: New Orangutan exhibit opens at the Zoo.
- 2014: Great Maya Reef opens at the Aquarium.
- 2013: Geaux Fish! exhibit opens at the Aquarium.
- 2011: Cool Zoo opens at the Zoo; Parakeet Pointe opens at the Aquarium.
- 2010: Audubon Aquatic Center was the critical care unit for animals rescued by the oil spill.
- 2008: Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is the first major attraction to open in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, adding more fun and foot traffic to Canal Street.
- 2006: Audubon Aquarium reopens the following spring with the joyous return of its penguins, signaling recovery is indeed underway.
- 2005: Hurricane Katrina is a heart-stopping milestone. In November, tears flow as Audubon Zoo welcomes weary residents back to their Zoo in an emotional homecoming.
- 2003: Audubon invites educators and community groups to take advantage of the Jeri and Robert Nims Community Center, a community meeting room and resource center at Audubon Zoo.
- 2001: Guests are welcomed into the heart of Audubon Zoo with a dynamic new front gate, including a palm-line promenade and a large, colorful flock of flamingos.
- 2001: The challenging Audubon Golf Course changes the face of golfing in New Orleans when it is renovated and opened to the public in Audubon Park.
- 2000 : An Audubon Park tradition is renewed with the construction of Audubon Tea Room, replacing an iconic building destroyed by fire in the 1970s.
- 1998: A stunning example of innovation in immersive exhibitry, Jaguar Jungle opens at Audubon Zoo with spider monkeys, anteaters and jaguars within a setting filled with authentic reproductions of ancient Central American structures.
- 1996: Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species brings new focus to the Survival Center. The Research Center logs 26 scientific firsts and earns Audubon Nature Institute worldwide accolades in conservation.
- 1995: Entergy IMAX® Theatre opens on the New Orleans Riverfront.
- 1994: Audubon assumes operation of Louisiana Nature Center.
- 1993: Audubon opens a secluded 1200-acre breeding center for endangered species, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center.
- 1990: Audubon Aquarium of the Americas opens and introduces family tourism to downtown New Orleans.
- 1986: Voters approve a $25 million bond issue to build Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, located in a brand new space that took the dilapidated New Orleans riverfront and, for the first time, opened it up and renovated it so everyone could enjoy it.
- 1960s – 1970s: Audubon Zoo suffers severe disrepair. The public demands closure unless changes happen. Friends of the Zoo forms, and Audubon Zoo is on its way to world-class. As a private, not-for-profit, Audubon Zoo generates operating funds from revenue earned, managing the Zoo (and future attractions and facilities) on behalf of the City of New Orleans. Cities nationwide take notice as the Zoo opens natural habitat exhibits where animals thrive and attendance soars.