You’re invited to a housewarming celebration! The new visitor exhibit in the panda house is finished and we would love for everyone to come visit and see it. On Feb. 23, we’ll be hosting a giant panda housewarming party, sponsored by Airbnb, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat.
After a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m., the housewarming party will begin! The day will be filled with fun activities for pandas and panda enthusiasts alike. The giant and red pandas will receive special frozen treats throughout the day. The treats, created by our department of nutrition science, will be made to look like noodles. Bei Bei and the red pandas, Asa and Jackie, will receive their treats in their yards at 9:30 a.m. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian will receive their baskets at 1 p.m.
Special treats will also be available for human visitors as well! Guests will be able to sample dumplings courtesy of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China until 11 a.m. Free hot chocolate will be available until 2 p.m., courtesy of Airbnb.
Young panda fans can take a piece of the new exhibit home with them. A coloring sheet, featuring many of the species that share bamboo forest habitat with giant pandas in the wild and based on a new mural inside the panda house, will be available for kids to color and take home.
Panda fans will be able to talk with panda scientists and keepers throughout the day. Scientists will share photos and stories of their work in the field. And keepers will talk about what it is like caring for pandas.
And finally, while supplies last, guests who visit the Zoo’s Panda Plaza gift shop can take home a very special commemorative print, courtesy of Friends of the National Zoo. The print is a copy of a painting created by Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and Bei Bei. The numbered prints will be available one-per-family while the 5,000 copies last. No purchase is necessary for a print.
All who visit the panda house will experience a brand new colorful and interactive exhibit. The updated exhibit will teach visitors about the ecology, history, reproduction, conservation and care of giant pandas. Through a series of new interactive games and activities, visitors will learn about these unique bears and their natural habitat. Panda-enthusiasts will be able to “navigate” the effects of habitat loss through a hands-on maze; test their knowledge of species that share panda habitat; and see how powerful a panda’s jaws are compared to other animals.
New photos and videos will show visitors what a normal day for the pandas and their keepers is like—and how they work together. And the exhibit will chronicle the advances that panda scientists in China and at the Smithsonian have made during the past four decades.