Panda Bear Cuddling!

Chengdu Travel Blog

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Jason poses by the bears at the Panda Breeding Center.

          Our travel alarm blared a sequence of irritating beeps at 6:30 a.m. this morning, reminding us that we would be catching a ride in one of the hostel's vans to the Panda Breeding Center, located only a few miles from Cozy Sim's.

          After walking along several bamboo-lined pathways, we turned a corner and caught sight of our first group of four pandas, ranging in age from 3 to 4 years old. One of the pandas casually chomped on bamboo throughout the entirety of our visit, while the other three pandas seemed to be cuddling and lazily rolling around on top of a wooden structure. After oohing and awing over the adorable bears for quite some time, we trekked through the park until we came across a second group of pandas, ranging in ages from 6 to 8.

The ten month-old pandas were so adorable!
One panda in particular was lounging lazily, sprawled out on his back, and reaching all around him for bamboo to consume. We learned that pandas are largely docile animals and eat up to 80 pounds of bamboo a day, despite having a carnivore's digestive tract. Since the pandas only digest about twenty percent of the nutrients from the bamboo, they spend the rest of their day sleeping to conserve energy.

          We then spent some time observing the 8 to 10 year-old pandas before we made our way to the area designated for the baby pandas, who were ten months old. The five pandas were genuinely precious, so our cameras were clicking away like crazy. We were visiting during their feeding time, so the helpless and fully-dependent cubs followed a feeder around wherever she went, hoping for one of the treats inside her bag.

This bear is so busy eating, he doesn't seem to even notice me!
At one point, all five of the cuddly cubs took a seat upon a log; they sure knew how to pose for the cameras!

          Following the half hour that we spend amongst the panda cubs, we ventured on to the red panda section, where we spent very little time. Throughout the morning, we had been made aware of a couple opportunities the Panda Breeding Center provides its visitors. For 1000 RMB, you can hug a baby panda bear, and for 400 RMB you can pet a giant panda that is fully grown. Naturally, this was something that I absolutely couldn't live without doing, so I reminded Jason of this throughout the morning, in a sweet and loving voice, of course. Keep in mind that I am quite a practical person and was fully willing to skip the opportunity to hug a baby panda and settle for the less expensive option.

What a cutie!
Jason, being the loving husband that he is, gave in, and I was on my way to petting an giant panda!

          When it was time for my great adventure, I was given booties to wear on my feet, and I passed through the gate into the park that the pandas inhabit. The workers had coaxed a panda down from a nearby tree, and the large creature had a seat and was given two apples to enjoy. As the panda lazily munched on his treats, I was ushered in next to the bear to pet him and pose for a series of pictures. The panda bear seemed to hardly notice that I was even there, as he was so mesmerized by his fruity snacks. All in all, it was a wonderful experience and clearly worth the cash!

          Following the Panda Breeding Center, we returned to our hostel for lunch, and then we were off again to a local antiques and art market. We roamed around the open-air stalls for quite a while and made a few purchases. I found two ornate dragon figurines that would complement our design style well. Although they are a "must have" in my eyes, I have yet to convince Jason that they are a necessity, so we left them behind at the market...for now. I admit that they are a bit pricey, rather heavy, and most likely expensive to ship back to the U.S., but I look at them as a great piece of memorabelia from our honeymoon. I have already scheduled in some time to return to the market when we arrive in Chengdu for a second time after Tibet. Hopefully we will be picking up my souvenirs then!

Biedjee says:
Must have been a cool experience, but so much money! I was at the Panda sanctuary yesterday, but couldn't stomach to pay 100 quid to cuddle a panda. People were lining up though.
Posted on: Nov 02, 2010
RainyDayToast says:
That is so cool! :)
Posted on: Jul 06, 2010
yheleen says:
wow, what an experience :) i sooo love to cuddle a panda :) wish we have them here...
Posted on: Aug 04, 2008
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Jason poses by the bears at the Pa…
Jason poses by the bears at the P…
The ten month-old pandas were so a…
The ten month-old pandas were so …
This bear is so busy eating, he do…
This bear is so busy eating, he d…
What a cutie!
What a cutie!
photo by: spocklogic