The Calgary Zoo broke their all-time attendance record last year

Jan 4 2019, 9:27 pm

It has been quite the year for the Calgary Zoo, with the arrival of the giant pandas from Toronto marking a definite highlight for the organization’s history.

More history was made by the end of December, apparently, as the Zoo has announced that 2018 was a record-breaking year for attendance — and we have no doubt that the addition of the pandas in May had a little something to do with it.

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A total of 1,480,000 visitors walked through the Calgary Zoo’s turnstiles between January and December of 2018, with a full 190,067 of those coming in just the opening month of the Panda Passage exhibit.

“By so many important standards, it is fair to say 2018 was the zoo’s best year ever,” said Dr. Clément Lanthier, President and CEO of the Calgary Zoo, in a release.

“We are incredibly grateful to our community for their continued support as we work towards our ultimate goal of becoming Canada’s leader in wildlife conservation.”

The nearly 1.5 million visitors broke the zoo’s previous attendance record, which had been set back in 2012 when the Penguin Plunge exhibit was opened.

Other notable accomplishments included hitting 100,000 members, releasing about 200 endangered animals throughout the year, and launching a PandaCam so that people could see the pandas in action from all around the world.

“One of our big goals is to reach the point where each year we are releasing more animals into the wild than we care for at the zoo, and this year we took some important steps to build our capacity to achieve that goal,” said Lanthier, in the release.

“We’ve proven that when people work together – such as we do in partnership with other conservation organizations, various government departments, committed donors and with the support of our community — we can save animals in the wild.”

The zoo is currently open during its winter hours of operation, which run from 9 am to 6 pm, seven days a week.