March 9, 2018 8:39 pm

Calgary Zoo introduces ticket initiatives ahead of Panda Passage opening

Giant panda cub Jia Panpan (Top) (meaning Canadian Hope) and its mother Er Shun play at the Toronto Zoo in Toronto, Canada on March 17, 2017.

Xinhua/Li Haitao via Getty Images

With giant pandas expected to drive a 25 per cent spike in zoo-goers this summer, the Calgary Zoo is introducing new ticket initiatives.

The zoo said it’s expecting record crowds to visit the four pandas — two adults, Er Shun and Da Mao, and two young bears, Jian Panpan and Jia Yueyue — in Panda Passage, their new Calgary habitat.

The bears are expected to arrive in Calgary sometime in March from Toronto.

READ MORE: Panda Passage at the Calgary Zoo to open May 7

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Starting May 1, the zoo will introduce variable pricing in the hope of shifting some of its visitors from weekends to weekdays. Ticket prices will range from $19.95 in the low season to $34.95 in the high season.

Panda enthusiasts can also purchase Advanced Panda Tickets starting in May, which means visitors pick a specific time they’d like to go see the giant pandas. Those tickets can be bought ahead of time or at the zoo.

Online shoppers are also being treated to special deals each day, the zoo said, like a $5 discount per transaction per ticket, the zoo said. It’s hoped that online incentives will encourage visitors to buy tickets ahead of time, reducing lineups.

The zoo said there will still be options for economically challenged Calgarians through the city’s fee assistance program.

WATCH: Visitors helped the Toronto Zoo celebrate the first birthday for Jian Panpan and Jia Yueyue, the two giant panda cubs that were born at the zoo last year.

According to the Calgary Zoo website, general admission daily tickets are $24.95 each. For seniors, they’re $22.95 and for children they’re $16.95.

The Panda Passage habitat is set to open to the public on May 7.

Er Shun and Da Mao have lived at the Toronto Zoo for the past five years.

The cubs were born at the zoo in October 2015. The bears are in Canada for a 10-year stay through an agreement signed between the Canadian and Chinese governments in 2012.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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