Media Advisory: Giant Panda Xiao Qi Ji’s Second Birthday Celebration Aug. 21

Presentation of a panda-friendly fruitsicle cake to giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji and his mother Mei Xiang in celebration of his second birthday.    

Sunday, Aug. 21
8 a.m.: Zoo opens
9 a.m.: Giant pandas will access their outdoor habitats and receive cake  

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 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18. Space will not be reserved for media separately from the visitors.)

This year, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute celebrates 50 years of unprecedented achievement in the care, conservation, breeding and study of giant pandas. The Zoo’s giant panda cub, Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji), will celebrate his second birthday Aug. 21 with a specially tailored fruitsicle cake. His mother, 24-year-old female Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), will also partake of the frozen treat.

The Zoo opens to visitors with free passes at 8 a.m. At 9 a.m., keepers will let the giant pandas outside. Media may continue filming giant pandas after 9 a.m. and conduct person-on-the-street interviews with Zoo visitors. The Giant Panda 50th Anniversary celebration is made possible with the support of Boeing. 

RSVP: All media must RSVP by 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18. 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 Pamela Baker-Masson at or 202-380-2963. Zoo staff are not available to interview for live shots. Prior to 8 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. Media should 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. Additional resources on giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji may be found on 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 Boeing. 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.

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