Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China
Perhaps the best place to see Giant Pandas – should you have the opportunity – is in their native country of China. At the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, visitors can often see newly born pandas through a hospital-like viewing window near the main panda enclosures. You can even have your photo taken with one of these cuddly bears for an extra fee.
The National Zoo in Washington, DC has been home to a pair Giant Pandas in recent years, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. The zoo recently welcomed a third panda when Mei Xiang gave birth on Friday, August 23. The cub will only receive a name after 100 days according to Chinese tradition, but visitors can still see Tian Tian in the outdoor panda habitat or check up on mom and baby with the Giant Panda Cam.
The San Diego Zoo welcomed its own Giant Panda Cub in August 2012, bringing the total number of residents in the Giant Panda Habitat up to four. Bai Yun, Gao Gao, Yun Zi and the baby Xiao Liwu spend their days lazing in hammocks, climbing log structures and showing off for their plentiful adoring fans.
Canada welcomed a pair of Giant Pandas, Da Mao and his prospective mate Er Shun, in March 2013. The pair are scheduled to spend five years at the Toronto Zoo before making the short move to Calgary for another five years. Ever wondered how much is costs to "rent" a pair of pandas for five years? Well, the Toronto Zoo forked over $20 million.
Photo courtesy of Jupiterimages/Thinkstock
Edinburgh Zoo in Edinburgh, Scotland
The Giant Pandas at the Edinburgh Zoo are so popular, guests must book a time slot to visit them ahead of time. Tian Tian and Yang Guang, like all the Giant Pandas in captivity, are on loan from China and began their stay in Scotland in 2011, and they've settled in nicely.
It's been an exciting year for Giant Pandas, as Zoo Atlanta welcomed panda twins in July 2013. Now the zoo has a full house with a total of six pandas. Visitors will have to wait until late fall to see the new arrivals, but Xi Lan and Po, the other two children of Yang Yang and Lun Lun, can be spotted playing in their enclosures. Fun fact: Po was named after Jack Black's character in the film Kung Fu Panda.
The Memphis Zoo is one of only four zoological parks in the United States to house Giant Pandas. The zoo's China exhibit is home to Ya Ya and Le Le, who have been residents of Memphis since 2003. You can often spot them sitting in the sunny outdoor enclosure munching on bamboo.
Things are getting exciting at the Adelaide Zoo as the two adult pandas, Wang Wang and Funi, approach their breeding season. Giant Panda reproductive specialists are on hand to attempt an artificial insemination if natural breeding doesn't occur, and if all goes well, Australia might welcome a new Giant Panda cub in early 2014.
The Giant Panda Forest at the newly opened River Safari in Singapore is home to two Giant Pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia. The pair celebrate their birthdays in September, and the park will be throwing a party September 5-17 with panda art, face painting, guided tours of the habitat and panda-themed deserts at Mama Panda Kitchen.
After an artificial insemination attempt in April 2013, Hua Zui Ba, one of the Giant Pandas residing in the Zoo Aquarium de Madrid could become a mother for the second time in the upcoming weeks. The zoo is currently home to four Giant Pandas, Bing Xing and Hua Zui Ba as well as their twin cubs Po and De De, born in 2010.