Edinburgh Zoo has now released giant panda viewing tickets for sale up to 18 March 2012.

Over 70,000 people have seen Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) since they went on public display just before Christmas, with Edinburgh Zoo seeing almost a 200% increase in visitor numbers compared with the same period 12 months earlier.  On average this is a three to four times increase in people through the door, however over the Christmas period some days saw an amazing surge of almost eight times the figures.

Almost a staggering 9,000 cuddly toy pandas ranging from £3 to £40 have been bought by visitors as mementos of their visit over the last seven weeks. That’s over 1,000 cuddly toys per week!

Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Zoo, said:

“We’re delighted to announce that tickets to see our giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang have now gone on sale until the 18th March.  Advance bookings have started flooding in already.  We’ve been fully booked almost every day so far and expect the popularity of Tian Tian and Yang Guang to continue.

“Visitors’ faces have been amazing, both young and old.  For the vast majority of people this is the first chance they’ve had in their lifetime to cast their eyes on a giant panda.  As well as being incredibly endangered and rarely seen outside China, they are an extremely cute and anthropomorphic animal.  People are often amazed to see for themselves that pandas are quite happy to make eye contact and our visitors can learn lots of interesting facts from our panda patrols – like pandas eat a third of their body weight in food every day and the male pandas do their own version of a hand stand to scent mark their territory.  It’s all very exciting stuff and the RZSS is honoured to be able to bring and share giant pandas with the people of Scotland, the UK and beyond.”

A great way to spend the mid-term holidays, book panda tickets now online at www.edinburghzoo.org.uk to avoid disappointment.