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As part of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute's cooperative breeding program with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, all cubs born at the Zoo move to China before turning 4 years old to breed with other pandas, helping to keep the population genetically diverse. Learn more about Bao Bao's trip to China in this FAQ.
Bao Bao will be sent off with a series of celebratory events from Feb. 16 to 21, including 24/7 Bao Bao on Panda Cam 1. Check out the full schedule below for more details.
Don't forget to:
Saturday, Feb. 11
- 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST | FONZ Members-only Event
Join FONZ for a members-only event filled with family-friendly fun, including treats, giveaways and exclusive access to prime viewing of Bao Bao as she receives special enrichment! Learn more.
Thursday, Feb. 16
- All Day | @Smithsonian Instagram Takeover
To kick off the farewell, the Zoo's panda team is also taking over the @Smithsonian Instagram account to share a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of a giant panda keeper.
- 9:30 a.m. EST | Facebook Live: Painting with Bao Bao
Tune in to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Facebook page to learn how and why keepers engage giant pandas and other animals in enrichment activities, like painting, to stimulate natural behaviors.
- 10 a.m. EST | Daily Treats: Dumpling Party for Visitors and Bao Bao
Visit the Zoo or tune in to Panda Cam 1 to see Bao Bao receive a “dumpling.” In honor of Bao Bao, the Embassy of China is serving dumplings to panda fans beginning at 10 a.m. In China, dumplings are a must-have food for festivities and a popular food for bidding farewell to loved ones before they leave home. The shape of dumplings also resembles an ancient gold-bar, or “yuan bao," in Chinese which represents perfection and completion.
- 1:30 p.m. EST | Daily Treats: Conservation
Visit the Zoo or tune in to Panda Cam 1 to see the panda team give Bao Bao a special Smithsonian-themed enrichment that represents the Zoo’s global cooperation to save species.
- 3 p.m. EST | Reddit Ask Me Anything: Giant Panda Conservation
Curious about giant panda conservation and the science behind it? Join experts for an online Reddit AMA chat on giant panda reproduction, biology and habitat.
Friday, Feb. 17
- 10 a.m. EST | Daily Treats: FONZ-themed Enrichment
Visit the Zoo or tune in to Panda Cam 1 to watch as Bao Bao receives special themed enrichment acknowledging the 30,000 FONZ member families who support the Zoo's commitment to animal conservation and wildlife research.
- 1:30 p.m. EST | Daily Treats: Bao Bao's Favorites
Visit the Zoo or tune in to Panda Cam 1 to watch Bao Bao enjoy her favorite enrichment items, picked out by her keepers. Tune in to see what they are!
- 3 p.m. EST | Facebook Live: Giant Panda Recycled Art Projects with Friends of the National Zoo
Tune in to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Facebook page to learn how to make giant panda-inspired crafts with the FONZ education team using items you may already have at home.
Saturday, Feb. 18
- 9 a.m. EST | Facebook Live: Training with Bao Bao
Tune in to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Facebook page to see a training session with Bao Bao. Training helps teach giant pandas specific behaviors, such as how to voluntarily participate in veterinary exams
- 10 a.m. EST | Daily Treats: Heart-shaped Ice Cake
Visit the Zoo or tune in to Panda Cam 1 to watch Bao Bao enjoy a heart-shaped ice cake made by the Zoo's Department of Nutrition Science. The cake represents global panda fan love. Fans support the Zoo's conservation work to study, care for and help save the giant panda and its native habitat.
- 1:30 p.m. EST | Daily Treats: Treasure Chest Enrichment
Visit the Zoo or tune in to Panda Cam 1 to watch Bao Bao enjoy a “precious treasure” box filled with treats.
Sunday, Feb. 19
10 a.m. EST | Daily Treats: Ice Cake Favorites
Visit the Zoo or tune in to Panda Cam 1 to watch Bao Bao enjoy a celebratory ice cake treat crafted with her daily food items and prepared by the Zoo's Department of Nutrition Science.
- 11 a.m. EST | Facebook Live: Panda Cam Control Room
Tune in to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Facebook page to get an inside look at the panda cam control room and meet a specially-trained FONZ volunteer behavior-watcher.
- 1:30 p.m. EST | Daily Treats: Peach-themed Enrichment
Visit the Zoo or tune in to Panda Cam 1 to watch Bao Bao enjoy peach-themed enrichment. In August 2014, the Zoo and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China celebrated giant panda cub Bao Bao's first birthday with a Zhuazhou (dra-JO) ceremony. During a traditional Zhuazhou ceremony, symbolic objects are placed in front of a baby. The item that the baby reaches for first foretells something about his or her future. Three posters with symbols painted on them were placed in Bao Bao's yard. Bao Bao chose the peaches first, which means she will live a long life as an ambassador for panda conservation.
Monday, Feb. 20
- 9:30 a.m. EST | Facebook Live: Packing for Panda
Tune in to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Facebook page to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the team is getting Bao Bao ready for her trip to China. What do you pack for a panda?
- 10 a.m. EST | Daily Treats: Ice Cake Party
Visit the Zoo or tune in to Panda Cam 1 to watch Bao Bao enjoy a stunning ice cake in the shape of a Chinese pagoda. The cake celebrates of 45 years of collaboration with Chinese colleagues to study, care for and save giant pandas in their native habitat.
- 1:30 p.m. EST | Daily Treats: Suitcase Enrichment
Visit the Zoo or tune in to Panda Cam 1 to watch as Bao Bao receives a “suitcase” with symbols of her hometown and a symbol of her future home in China.
Tuesday, Feb. 21
- 10:00 a.m. EST | Facebook Live: Bao Bao's Zoo Departure
Tune in to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Facebook page to watch as Bao Bao departs from the Zoo.
- 1:30 p.m. EST | Facebook Live: Bao Bao at Dulles Airport
Tune in to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Facebook page to watch as Bao Bao departs Dulles International Airport on the “FedEx Panda Express,” a custom-decaled 777F aircraft.
Saturday, Feb. 11
Bao Bao is headed to China, and FONZ Members are invited to help give her a warm sendoff. Join FONZ on Saturday, Feb. 11 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to say Bye Bye to Bao Bao! This members-only event provides members with exclusive access to prime viewing of Bao Bao.
The event will be filled with family-friendly fun, including treats, giveaways and the opportunity to watch Bao Bao receive some special enrichment from her keepers. Members will have the opportunity to say #ByeByeBaoBao with a special selfie station and chalkboard wall. Plus, enter to win a fantastic prize commemorating Bao Bao, or purchase one of the mini Adopt-a-Species. Enjoy a special signature cookie from Giant Food to commemorate the sendoff! Bao Bao is very special to everyone at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and will be an important part of the panda conservation effort in China, so be sure to visit to celebrate her sendoff!
This event is free and exclusive to FONZ members. Limit: up to six people (adults or children) per membership account. Please bring your current FONZ membership card with matching Photo ID. Note: animal behavior, weather and other factors may affect panda viewing.
Not an active member?
Post a Memory or Wish Online
RSVP to the #ByeByeBaoBao Facebook event to share a favorite memory or wish for Bao Bao.
Commemorative Bao Bao Postcard
If you are visiting the Zoo, pick up a postcard along Asia Trail and write a special message for Bao Bao. To send your postcard to China with Bao Bao, drop it in the red mailbox near her outdoor habitat.
Visit the David M. Rubenstein Giant Panda Habitat and write a message on the chalkboard wall across from Bao Bao's indoor enclosure.
Send a Letter
If you are unable to visit the Zoo but would still like to send a farewell message, mail your letter to the address below. All letters received will be sent with Bao Bao to China.
c/o Office of Communications
Smithsonian's National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave., NW | MRC 5509
Washington, D.C. 20008