LINCOLN PARK — The Lincoln Park Zoo's latest pair of cute, adorable and endangered red panda cubs make their debut this weekend, after appearing "intermittently" in their new exhibit in the Kovler Lion House.
The zoo is using its Fall Fest promotion, running Friday through Sunday, as the coming out party for Waveland and Sheffield, its newest pair of red panda cubs, born June 24.
Not coincidentally, the Chicago Cubs return to town to renew the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field Saturday. Waveland, a female, and Sheffield, a male, are of course named after the cross streets outside the Wrigley Field bleachers.
According to the zoo, Waveland and Sheffield have spent their young lives primarily in their "nest box," but "the cubs have grown more independent and have ventured on exhibit intermittently as they continue to acclimate to ‘the friendly confines’ of their ivy-covered habitat."
If it seems like red panda deja vu, it sort of is. Waveland and Sheffield are the second litter of red panda cubs in two years produced by the zoo's breeding pair Leafa and Phoenix as part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan.
The pair follow in the footsteps of red pandas Clark and Addison, who were sent on recommendation to the San Diego Zoo and Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo last year after their birth on July 1, 2015. They're most famous for their frolic in the snow last winter.
"In the last year, red pandas have gone from a threatened to endangered species due to human impacts including habitat loss,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “These playful, curious, arboreal cubs here at the zoo serve as ambassadors to encourage learning and inspire visitors to help protect this species in the wild."
The zoo is playing up the Cubs tie-ins during Fall Fest this weekend. The first 200 visitors wearing Cubs gear get a free ticket to one of the other Fall Fest attractions, including a corn maze and hay mountain, and anyone in Cubs clothing can purchase a pumpkin carving kit for $5 and a medium pumpkin for the same — a $22 value for $10.
Waveland and Sheffield, however, figure to be the stars of the show, with daily red panda chats at 3 p.m. in the Lion House, although previously the zoo advised red pandas are most active in the morning.
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here.