Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Panda Loving

While visiting the Panda Research Base, Matthew and I held a baby panda. I cannot even begin to describe how excited I was for this. My face actually hurt from smiling. I was more enthusiastic than a tween at her first Justin Bieber concert.


But holding a panda isn't cheap. However, I considered this opportunity to be a once in a lifetime event and happily ponied up the 2000 rmb/person ($325) "donation". (Note: Friends of ours only had to donate 1300 rmb in November 2012 for this experience. The price appears to increase rapidly every few months).

The base does a decent job of stretching the panda holding into an experience of sorts. We were first given a lesson on the breeding practices that take place on the base. There isn't much natural procreation going on there, in case you were wondering. We next learned about feeding the pandas and finally, we got our up close and personal experience with the panda.

After washing our hands, we were outfitted with booties and sterile gowns to wear. Totally attractive, right?


Then it was time to snuggle with the panda. The zookeeper handed me a piece of bamboo coated in honey to feed the panda in hopes of keeping him occupied during our little photo session. He must have though I was pretty sweet, because when his honey ran out, he gave my cheek a nice slobbery lick.


Matthew missed out on a panda makeout session during his turn though as the little guy was rather preoccupied with an apple slice.



While we may have left the Panda Research Base with a little (okay, a lot) less cash in our pockets, I would absolutely pay to hold a panda again. Besides, at least our donation went towards the conservation of pandas. Because the world is just a little bit cuter (and slobbery) with these gentle beasts around.


  1. Love the picture of the panda licking your face. I was there 10 years ago, and at that time they let me just hold a baby for free without any gear - looks like they have modified things quite a bit. We also bribed a guard (at his request) to let us pet an adult panda while he took a picture. (my poor mother when she saw that picture!!)

    1. Oh wow, amazing how things have changed in 10 years!


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