You Could be Part of the #PandaStory Instameet on Dec. 19, 2015!

REGISTRATION HAS CLOSED. Thank you for your interest!

All selected registrants have been notified.

It's your turn to be part of a #PandaStory—our social media journey sharing what it takes to create, study, care for and conserve giant pandas. Twenty-five Instagrammers will be some of the first people to see giant panda cub Bei Bei. You'll meet our panda keepers, and capture and share images of Bei Bei in this special, behind-the-scenes experience at the David M. Rubenstein Giant Panda Habitat.


How to Enter

  1. Make an Instavideo—15 seconds or less—telling us why you want to be part of the National Zoo's Instameet. We want to know anything from why you care about pandas to why you think it's important to study and save them.
  2. Submit your video via direct message to @SmithsonianZoo and post your video publicly to your Instagram account. Make sure to tag @SmithsonianZoo and use #PandaStory and #ZooMeet.
  3. Fill out the accompanying registration form here by Tuesday, Dec. 7.
  4. Wait to hear from us. You will be notified by Friday, Dec. 11 and provided with additional details if you are selected.

Please Note: Your application will be considered incomplete if an Instavideo is not submitted.



Instameet FAQs


An Instameet is when a group of people get together and post to Instagram on a certain subject. The National Zoo's Instameet or "#ZooMeet" provides an opportunity to see and take photos of Bei Bei, experience special behind-the-scenes moments and learn more about Bei Bei's development from panda experts including the Zoo's continued work to help save this endangered species.

Participants in the Instameet or "#ZooMeet" will get early access to enter the David M. Rubenstein Panda Habitat to see and take photos of giant panda cub Bei Bei. You will have special behind-the-scenes experiences and meet National Zoo panda keepers and biologists who will be on hand to answer questions and talk more about Bei Bei and his development.

To be eligible, fill out this registration form by Tuesday, Dec. 7 and wait for an email from us. You will be notified either way by Friday, Dec. 11 and provided with additional details if you are selected. Additional registrants are placed on a waiting list.
Yes, all selected participants are required to have an Instagram account and follow @SmithsonianZoo. All participants will share their behind-the-scenes experience with their Instagram followers.
  1. In your Instagram app, Take a new photo/video or upload one from your camera roll.
  2. Add optional effects, filters and a caption.
  3. Tap Direct at the top of the screen. You'll see some features appear in green when you're using Instagram Direct.
  4. Search for and select the person or group you'd like to send the video/photo to (up to 15 people).
  5. Tap Send.
  6. For full instructions please see Instagram's help page here.
We welcome anyone from age 13+ to register.

By registering for the Smithsonian's National Zoo Instameet, you are indicating your intention to travel to the site of the event and attend in person. You are responsible for your own expenses for travel, accommodation, food and other amenities. You will need to provide government-issued identification (driver's license or passport) that matches the name provided on the registration. You must be age 13 or older to participate in this event. Please read the Terms and Conditions [link].

Yes, non-U.S. citizens may register to attend the National Zoo Instameet.
After registration closes, an email with confirmation information and additional instructions will be sent to those selected as well as those on a short waitlist. If you are on the waitlist, you may receive an invitation only if someone on the original selection list cancels and a space opens up.

If you cannot attend in person, please do not register for the Instameet. However, you can still plan to follow along with the event on Instagram via @SmithsonianZoo or using the event hashtags, #PandaStory and #ZooMeet.
Registration is for one person only and is not transferable, unless the registrant is under the age of 18, in which case he or she may bring one parent or legal guardian. You must be age 13 or older to participate in this event.
You will be asked to sign a release form allowing the Smithsonian to use your images posted on social media and any videos or photos taken of you during the event.

Have a question or need more information? Contact the Zoo's Office of Communications at ZooPublicAffairs@si.edu.


All things pandas

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Terms and Conditions


Anyone who follows @SmithsonianZoo and actively uses Instagram is eligible.  By "active," we mean social media users who actively engage with relevant subject matter and have an interest in sharing their experiences, learnings, or observations generously with the world. In other words, we are looking for those who:

  • Cross-post and utilize a combination of networks to learn and engage.
  • Share learning and knowledge about the world, as well as engage other social media users in conversation.
  • Generously invite others to experience what they see and learn.
  • Tend to share a wide variety of content in different topic areas and situations.
  • Use social media in a way that is kind to others and aligns with our user-generated content policy.
  • It's not about your number of followers; it is about your interest and sociability!

The Smithsonian will review the list of registrants with the above eligibility factors in mind and then select participants based on their stated reason for wanting to participate (as shown in the 15 second video) and quality of engagement (considering eligibility criteria listed above).

Registration is for one person only and is not transferable. If the registrant is under the age of 18, he or she may bring one parent or legal guardian.

If you are selected for the Instameet but cannot attend, please let the Smithsonian know and your space will be given to another registrant on the waitlist.

Instameet participants are responsible for their own expenses for travel, accommodations, food and incidentals (unless otherwise indicated, e.g. food, may be provided for a specific event). Please let the Smithsonian know if you have any special needs, dietary requirements, or accessibility requirements prior to arriving for the event.

Some events and participants scheduled to appear at the Instameet are subject to change without notice. The Smithsonian is not responsible for loss or damage incurred as a result of attending. The Smithsonian, moreover, is not responsible for loss or damage incurred in the event it cancels the event with limited or no notice. The Smithsonian reserves the right to exclude any person whose actions in any way interfere with the proper operation of the Instameet, do not comply with Smithsonian policies or specific instructions when behind the scenes, or otherwise acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. All decisions of the Smithsonian are final. Please plan accordingly.

On the day of the Instameet, registrants must show a government issued ID (driver's license or passport) that matches the name provided on the registration. Those without proper identification cannot be admitted. All Instameet participants will be asked to sign a release form allowing the Smithsonian to use images or video taken of you and Instagram posts by you during the event.

All Instameet participants must follow the reasonable instructions of Smithsonian staff regarding safety, security, and appropriate behavior in an animal care facility.

The Smithsonian reserves the right to deny the use of its facilities and activities (including this Instameet) to any person at any time and to deny the continued use of said facilities and activities to any visitor who does not comply with applicable Smithsonian policies and procedures, including for the Instameet, these terms and conditions.