Media Advisory: Xiao Qi Ji’s First Birthday Celebration


Presentation of panda-friendly fruitsicle cakes to giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji, his mother Mei Xiang and father Tian Tian. (Media opportunity only. Not open to the public.)    


Saturday, Aug. 21

6:55 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.

7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.: Interview opportunities with Zoo staff

7:30 a.m.: Giant pandas will access their outdoor habitats and receive birthday cakes

8 a.m.: Media event concludes; panda exhibit opens to Zoo members


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, Aug. 19.)


Brandie Smith, acting director, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

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

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute will celebrate giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji’s (SHIAU-chi-ji) first birthday with a specially tailored fruitsicle cake. Mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and father Tian Tian (tYEN-tYEN) will also enjoy fruitsicle cakes in honor of their son’s birthday. From 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., media have an opportunity to interview Zoo staff. To help ensure the safety of visitors, Zoo staff and the giant pandas, this celebration will take place at 7:30 a.m., before the Zoo opens to the public at 8 a.m. The public can watch the pandas enjoy their cakes live on the Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam.

This event is open to media only until 8 a.m.; media are permitted to film giant pandas after 8 a.m. and conduct person-on-the-street interviews with Zoo visitors. Smithsonian National Zoo members have access to the lower-level giant panda-viewing area from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Public will be on the upper-level giant panda-viewing area until 9 a.m.

RSVP: All media must RSVP by noon Aug. 19. 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.

SAFETY: While on-site, all media will be required to follow the safety procedures outlined here, including wearing face coverings indoors and social distancing.


Giant Panda Cub Xiao Qi Ji Media Resources

For comprehensive resources on the Zoo’s giant panda cub — including photos, videos, cub updates and press releases — visit the Zoo’s website.

Giant Panda Cam

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 Smithsonian Open Access policy. Media who wish to share the Giant Panda Cam may direct their audiences to the Zoo’s website and must credit as 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 and Safety Measures

Information on safety measures and entry requirements is available on the Zoo’s website. All visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask in all indoor spaces at the Zoo, regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated visitors do not need to wear a mask in outdoor areas. Detailed answers to questions about visitation may be found in this FAQ.

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