Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



winning gin-grr-bread habitat

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Friends of the National Zoo
2014 Gin-GRR-bread Habitat Competition

Bao Bao's Blizzard Bash!

Rockin' around the bamboo leaves
at Bao Bao’s Blizzard Bash!
Creatures from the ground up to the eaves
Are a-flocking to her smash!

This year's Gin-GRR-bread Habitat Competition celebrates the National Zoo's most famous animal celebrity - Bao Bao, the giant panda cub! Let your imagination run wild this winter while you design and build a habitat based on the theme "Bao Bao's Blizzard Bash". You may win the grand prize of an exclusive, keeper-led tour for six of the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat, including behind-the-scenes and front of house experiences! (Please note: there is never direct contact with the giant pandas).

Read the rules

What Makes a Grr-eat Animal Habitat?

In zoos, animals need:

  • Space to move, climb, and explore. The enclosures at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat have different ground levels, trees and plants, streams and pools, and enrichment objects - all of which keep our animals healthy and active;
  • Shelter from the heat and cold;
  • Food and someplace to eat;
  • Water and someplace to drink;
Meet Bao Bao, and her parents Mei Xiang (Mother) and Tian Tian (Father)!


The Competition is open to people of all ages. One grand prize will be awarded to each of the following categories:

  • Family or Youth Team: Teams with children ages 17 and under. Teams must be a minimum of 2 participants, but are not to exceed 6 participants. Teams may be comprised entirely of youth, or of adults and youth. Please note: at least one adult must accompany the winning team on their tour. Plan your team accordingly.
  • Adult Team: Teams of participants ages 18 and over. Teams must be a minimum of 2 participants, and are not to exceed 6 participants.
  • Adult Individual: Adults ages 18 or over working alone.


Grand Prize:

FONZ will award one Grand Prize to each category winning individual or team: An exclusive keeper-led tour of the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat for six guests. Your 30-minute tour will be led by a panda keeper and will include experiences behind and in front of the scenes in the Zoo's Panda House. Tour is limited to six guests and will be scheduled on a date mutually acceptable to the winner, panda staff, and the pandas. Panda tours are almost always scheduled at 8 am, due to the schedule of the pandas. At least one adult must accompany the tour. Guests will not come into direct contact with giant pandas during the tour.

Honorable Mention:

FONZ will award one Honorable Mention prize to each category runner-up.

How to Enter

Read the rules

One entry per individual, group, or household. Electronic registration is required for this competition. There is a $25 non-refundable fee to enter, which must be made with a credit card during registration. Due to space limitations, FONZ will accept only 80 registrations. Registration will close at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 21, or after 80 registrations are received.

Competitors will receive a Confirmation of Registration form including an entry number by email within two (2) business days. You must bring this form with you when you deliver your habitat. You must also include the entry information on the underside of your habitat. Can you please update the How To Enter section at the bottom of the page to read: Completed entries must be delivered to The National Zoo’s Visitor Center Auditorium between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 22 and Sunday, November 23. See Entry Intake, Display Information, and Entry Pick-Up information below for details.

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