Some Amazing Friends

Submitted by Marie G. of Chesapeake, Va.

"I first visited the Smithsonian's National Zoo with my husband and son as part of a family vacation. While there, we saw this huge line and thought there was a concert. Instead, everyone was waiting to see a giant panda. I thought, 'why not'?

So we all get in line and learned a cub was just born the month before. Of course, the cub was Tai Shan. I also learned I could watch him grow on the Zoo's Giant Panda Cam and I was soon addicted!

We started visiting the Zoo on a regular basis and I met such great friends who also shared a love for the pandas. One of my favorite memories was celebrating Tai Shan's birthday among the other 'pandarazzi' and being interviewed by several people because of my Tai Shan tattoo. Thanks to these pandas, I now have some amazing best friends and an extra bond for pandas. Will miss them terribly!"

Image credit: Smithsonian

The Panda Memories Project

In September 2023, the Zoo invited members of the public to share their favorite moments with Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, Xiao Qi Ji and the rest of the pandas that have called Washington D.C., home. Here are their stories.