Media Advisory: Giant Panda 50th Anniversary Celebration April 16 and 17

Visit the Zoo’s website to access a giant panda 50th anniversary media resource page with photos, videos and a backgrounder on the giant panda program.


Presentation of panda-friendly fruitsicle cakes to giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji, his mother Mei Xiang and father Tian Tian. An overview of April 16 and 17 programming is available on the Zoo’s website.    


Saturday, April 16
6:50 a.m.: Registered media in cars with confirmed parking spots will have access to enter the Zoo from the Connecticut Avenue vehicle entrance. Everyone will pass through security and should expect to provide media credentials. All other media will be admitted through the pedestrian gate at Connecticut Avenue.

7 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.: Interview opportunities with Zoo staff.

7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m.: Zoo Director Brandie Smith and Ambassador Qin Gang may make brief remarks.
8 a.m.: Zoo opens. Giant pandas will access their outdoor habitats and receive cakes.                      

Sunday, April 17 (Easter Sunday)

8 a.m.: Media are invited to visit the Zoo on Sunday. Zoo staff will not be available for interviews; however, media may film b-roll and conduct person-on-the-street interviews with visitors.

1 p.m.: Smithsonian Channel screening of “The Miracle Panda” in the Visitor Center Theater.

2 p.m.: Live music by Dong Xi outside the Elephant Community Center.


David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat
Smithsonian’s National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
(Note: Media credentials are required to cover the celebration. Media parking will be in Lot B. Media must RSVP by Thursday, April 14.)


Brandie Smith, John and Adrienne Mars director, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
Qin Gang, ambassador, People’s Republic of China

Bryan Amaral, senior curator of mammals, Smithsonian’s National Zoo 

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute will celebrate 50 years of unprecedented achievement in the care, conservation, breeding and study of giant pandas April 16. To commemorate this momentous occasion, the Zoo’s in-residence giant panda family—24-year-old male Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), 23-year-old female Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and their 19-month-old male cub Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji) will receive specially tailored fruitsicle cakes in honor of the “pandaversary.”

From 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m., media have an opportunity to interview Zoo staff. At 8 a.m., Zoo Director Brandie Smith and Ambassador Qin Gang of the People’s Republic of China will add the finishing touches to the frozen treats before keepers let the bears outside. This event is exclusive to media only until 8 a.m. The Zoo opens to visitors with free passes at 8 a.m. Media may continue filming giant pandas after 8 a.m. and conduct person-on-the-street interviews with Zoo visitors.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors can enjoy lion dance performances, panda-shaped bao buns and calligraphy demonstrations, courtesy of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, speak with the Zoo’s scientists who study giant panda biology and ecology, and see the pandas receive special enrichment treats. The world premiere of the Smithsonian Channel’s documentary on the Zoo’s giant panda program, “The Miracle Panda,” will be screened for a limited time at the Zoo’s Visitor Center Theater at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. This screening is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website. The Giant Panda 50th Anniversary celebration is made possible with the support of Boeing. 

RSVP: All media must RSVP by noon Thursday, April 14. Register by providing name, outlet, email, phone and parking request to Media must be on the RSVP list to enter the Zoo. Due to pandemic safety measures, attendance will be limited to two persons per outlet, and no extra guests will be allowed.

LIVE SHOTS: No satellite trucks can be accommodated on-site. Any media planning on live shots must use satellite packs. Media interested in live shots should preregister and confirm with Annalisa Meyer at or 202-904-8724. Zoo staff are most likely not available to interview for live shots. Prior to 7 a.m., media may conduct live shots outside the Zoo’s Connecticut Avenue pedestrian entrance.

CREDENTIALS: All media must wear visible credentials while on-site at the Zoo. Bring media identification and government-issued identification, such as a U.S. driver’s license. No media will be admitted to the Zoo without preregistering and the proper credentials.

Giant Panda 50th Anniversary Media Resources
For comprehensive resources on the Zoo’s giant panda 50th anniversary—including photos, videos, backgrounders, FAQs and press releases—visit the Zoo’s website.

Giant Panda Cam

Over the course of the Zoo’s “pandaversary,” fans can continue to stay connected to its panda family via the Giant Panda Cam, sponsored by Chase. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute does not grant permission for any of the Zoo’s webcams to be streamed live on non-Smithsonian sites. The Giant Panda Cam is copywritten to the Smithsonian Institution and does not fall under the Smithsonian’s Open Access policy. Media who wish to share the Giant Panda Cam may direct their audiences to the Zoo’s website and must credit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Videos from the Giant Panda Cam in the Zoo’s newsroom or YouTube channel may be shared by media, always with credit to Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Entry Requirements

Information on entry requirements is available on the Zoo’s website. Admission to the Zoo is free, but entry passes are required for all guests, including infants. Passes open on a rolling basis and can be reserved up to 30 days in advance. More passes are released one week out and one day out. Same-day passes are also available.

# # #