Free, timed-entry tickets to see the National Zoo's giant panda cub next month will be available tomorrow, starting at 9 a.m., on the zoo's Web site.
The cub, Tai Shan, born July 9, will go on limited public view beginning Dec. 8. Those with tickets will be admitted to the Panda House at 10-minute intervals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The tickets, issued on a first-come, first-served basis, will initially be made available through Dec. 31.
The Web site address to obtain tickets is www.fonz.org/pandaticket.htm. The site offers detailed instructions for how to reserve and print tickets.
One ticket will be issued for each group of visitors, with up to six people per ticket, depending on availability. A person may print up to two tickets per day. Children 2 and younger are exempt from the six-person limit.
People who don't have access to the Internet can obtain tickets by calling the zoo between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays at 202-633-4486.
That number also will handle calls from people who have problems with the online ticketing system or who want to arrange for larger group reservations. An answering machine will be in use to help with the expected volume of calls.
Friends of the National Zoo, the animal park's support organization, is handling the ticketing.
The zoo said a "very limited" number of same-day tickets will be issued. They will be available near the Panda House, beginning at 9 a.m. daily, until they have been distributed.
The cub's parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, will be on exhibit outside on most days, and no tickets will be required to see them.
"Live animals are unpredictable," a zoo statement cautioned. "The National Zoo cannot guarantee the giant panda cub will be visible during all of the 10-minute public viewing intervals."
The zoo, in anticipation of the crowds expected to see its first surviving cub, put out a statement late Friday with information on how to get tickets -- and advice on what to expect at the Panda House.
"Tai Shan is becoming stronger and more mobile each day," officials said. "He will have the entire indoor exhibit to explore and, therefore, may not always be in good view of visitors. He also will have access to his cubbing den, which is not visible to the public."
Zoo officials also said that having a ticket to see the cub does not guarantee that visitors will be able to park in the zoo's lots. They advised visitors to take Metro or other public transportation.
Admission to the zoo is free. Parking at the zoo costs $4 for the first hour, $12 for two to three hours, and $16 for more than three hours. Parking is free for members of Friends of the National Zoo.