Can you find cuter animals than Pandas? Nope.
I’ve never been the kind of person to be impressed by a panda – I saw one at the San Diego zoo several years back and it was a pretty boring animal.
Everything changed this past Saturday, when Bruce and I visited the Giant Panda Research Base just outside of Chengdu.
It is necessary to arrive to the Panda Base early and it’s about a 30 minute taxi ride from the city. They are fed at 9am and then nap for much of the day – though it’s winter, so they stay a bit more active because it’s not so hot. Naturally, we like to sleep in on weekends, so mustering up enough drive to actually wake up and get out of bed at 7:30 was a challenge. So far, on each of the Thursdays we’ve been in Chengdu we’d say “It’s Panda Weekend!”, only to decide at midnight Friday night that we really just wanted to have a drink, go to bed, and sleep in.
Finally, we got up early yesterday and made it out there. First off, the Panda Research Centre is huge. These animals are very well taken care of and it’s easily one of the better protected environments I’ve seen for any animal. It’s lush and forested and very pretty. The entrance fee is less than $10 USD, so that’s nice too.
We took the 10 minute tram ride up the hill and into the back part of the facility. Inside a building, there was a small playpen/holding area for some of the smaller pandas. They were being carried outside by the workers, one by one. They were squishy, fuzzy, clumsy, playful and ridiculously adorable. A short walk and then, though it was fairly empty that day, we saw a large crowd of about 40 people around one of the separate outdoor animal areas. Sure enough, there were a few big Giant Pandas munching away on their breakfast bamboo, looking unbelievably cute.
Next was the outdoor area of baby pandas. Like toddlers, they were curious, adventurous, and full of energy. Climbing (and falling out of) trees, tumbling around with the other toddler pandas – I was frozen in place by the cuteness of it all. There were SEVEN little toddlers that we could see. SEVEN. Not just seven pandas, but seven little fuzzy munchkins that were the snuggliest things I’d ever seen. Have I mentioned that they’re cute? Here’s a series of photos. Be ready for baby panda overload.
We hope you enjoyed the super cute photos!
We also had some up close encounters with Red Pandas. Hold tight- blog post and videos are on the way.