Six Important Facts About Us
- The Calgary Zoo is often cited by travelers as one of the best zoos in North America. Hosting 1.457 million guests in 2012, Calgary was the most visited zoo in Canada.
- The Calgary Zoological Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest registered charity in Alberta. The independent not-for-profit Society operates the Calgary Zoo, home of 707 animals representing 130 species.
- The Calgary Zoo is one of only four zoos in Canada accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, one of only 222 in the world. We've held AZA accreditation since 1978 – over 35 years. We are one of 27 zoos accredited by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
- The zoo is Calgary’s top tourist attraction. Each year 50% of the zoo’s visitors are from outside Calgary (half of those are from outside Alberta), creating a massive year-round benefit for local hotels, restaurants and retail stores. A March 2013 study by Grant Thornton found the Calgary Zoo generates $79 million in economic activity annually.
- One third of Calgarians visit the zoo every year. More than 70,000 Calgarians hold an annual zoo membership. It is Calgary’s favourite family destination: about 30% of all Calgary households with children under 14 visit annually.
- The zoo is home to the Centre for Conservation Research, where a team of biologists have earned international recognition as North America’s leaders in the science of species recovery and reintroduction. The Calgary Zoo was recognized for its robust conservation science program in the April 2013 issue of the prestigious journal Nature among other great zoos such as San Diego Zoo, London Zoo and the Smithsonian's National Zoo.
Like their namesake, giant pandas, red pandas have a special false thumb they use to strip leaves off bamboo stalks.