Giant panda Update Jan 15, 2014

Bao Bao is proving to be most active in the early mornings and in the midafternoon. Today she and Mei Xiang enjoyed an extended play session inside the panda house. Bao Bao pounced on Mei's head several times and even wrestled with a stalk of bamboo. All the excitement wore her out, and she was sound asleep in the den about an hour later.

Bao Bao's debut for the general public is Saturday, Jan. 18. The panda house will extend its hours in an attempt to accommodate the visitors expected to come see Bao Bao. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Jan. 18 through Jan. 20, and visitors will be allowed into the house in small groups to avoid overcrowding on a first-come, first-served basis. Bao Bao and Mei Xiang will have access to the den during those times, and may choose to spend time in it instead of on exhibit. Beginning Jan. 21 the panda house will open to FONZ members only from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. At 10 a.m. the panda house will open to the general public.

To commemorate Bao Bao's debut, 30 lucky Instagrammers who follow @SmithsonianZoo on Instagram will be given special early access to the panda house to see Bao Bao Saturday, Feb. 1, for an InstaMeet or "#ZooMeet." The 30 participants will be chosen from Instagrammers who register for the InstaMeet and will have half an hour to view and take photos of Bao Bao before the panda house opens to the public. Members of the panda team will also be available to answer questions. Registration for the InstaMeet is now open. Instagrammers chosen to attend the special opportunity will be notified by Jan. 27. They will be sharing their photos Feb. 1, using #ZooMeet and #Panda. Additional information on the InstaMeet and registration is posted to the Zoo's website.