National Zoo Will Host Special #PandaStory Instameet Dec. 19

Twenty-five Instagrammers will be some of the first people to see giant panda cub Bei Bei (BAY-BAY) Dec. 19 at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Beginning today, Dec. 1, anyone age 13 or older can enter for a chance to attend the #PandaStory Instameet. Instagrammers selected to attend will receive a special, behind-the-scenes experience at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat while sharing photos and video using #PandaStory. Panda keepers will be on hand to answer questions about Bei Bei and the Zoo's efforts to save giant pandas. Registration is required to be selected. Applicants must create a 15-second Instagram video explaining why they care about giant pandas or their thoughts about giant panda conservation. Rules and details can be found on the Zoo's website.

Bei Bei will go on public exhibit Jan. 16, 2016. The panda house will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Members of Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) will be able to see Bei Bei starting Jan. 8, 2016. FONZ will share more details through the Member News page on the Zoo's website in the coming weeks.

Although the panda house will once again receive visitors in the New Year, Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and Bei Bei will continue to have access to the den where Bei Bei was born. When they choose to spend time in the den, they will only be visible on the panda cams. On high visitation days, visitors will be allowed into the panda house in small groups. The Zoo will continue to provide updates on Bei Bei, Mei Xiang, Bao Bao (BOW-BOW) and Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) through the giant panda e-newsletter, Twitter (@NationalZoo), Facebook and Instagram (@SmithsonianZoo) using #PandaStory.