The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium took several awards from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums this month.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium took several awards from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums this month.

The Polar Frontier, which brought polar bears back to the zoo and opened last year, won an exhibit award.

Both the zoo and Wilds took top honors in the North American Conservation Award category for the Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Research Center. The award recognizes preservation efforts.

The Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Research Center opened on the Scioto River near the zoo in 2001 and aids in the propagation and conservation of endangered freshwater muscles. The center is a partnership between the zoo, Wilds, the Ohio State University, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.

Outstanding service awards went to zoo assistant curator Harry Peachey for his work with elephants and the Elephant Taxon Advisory Group; and Jack Hanna and animal program director Suzi Rapp for their work on behalf of the annual AZA Legislative Reception.

The Wilds also earned AZA accreditation.