Washington, DC

From the National Zoo:

“Free Timed-Entry Passes Available Beginning May 14

When visitors return to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute May 21, they will find both familiar and new faces as they explore the park. Although the Zoo has been closed since Nov. 23, 2020, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the animal care team reported to work and provided the same level of care for their charges as any other day. Animals newly on view include giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji, Amur tiger Mitas, Przewalski’s horse mother-son duo, Barbie and Cooper, Komodo dragon juvenile Onyx, Andean bear Brienne, American bison Lucy and Gally, California sea lion Charger and North American beaver Poplar, a new wallaby joey and a kudu calf. The Reptile Discovery Center will be open on the weekends, Friday through Sunday.

As the Zoo prepares to reopen to the public, updates have been made to its hours and entry requirements. In addition to limiting the number of visitors, the Zoo is once again implementing required safety procedures and guidelines. These changes include free timed-entry passes, requiring face coverings for all visitors ages 2 and up, Read More

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From a press release:

“The Smithsonian will reopen eight of its facilities to the public in May, starting with the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, Wednesday, May 5. Additional museums and the National Zoo will open Friday, May 14, and Friday, May 21.

All locations will reopen with added health and safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors will need to reserve free timed-entry passes for all locations. All other Smithsonian museums will remain temporarily closed to the public.

Reopening Schedule  Read More

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via FONZ

Thanks to all who passed on the news from FONZ:

“Today, Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute are announcing the dissolution of our partnership.

For nearly 63 years, FONZ has been a valued partner of the Zoo, with a team dedicated to providing educational and fun experiences, such as Boo at the Zoo and summer camps, and managing a number of services, from greeting guests to running the retail stores. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has had continued financial impacts on both FONZ and the National Zoo, which required a re-assessment of the longstanding relationship. Read More

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From the Smithsonian’s National Zoo:

“This week, we saw the sassy side of our almost 4-month-old giant panda cub, Xiao Qi JI. Around 6:30 a.m. Dec. 16, he and his mother, Mei Xiang, were spending time in their den. While Xiao Qi Ji rested on the floor, Mei Xiang rearranged her nest and played with some pieces of bamboo. This went on for several minutes, when suddenly our little cub let out a loud and feisty bark!”

To the video tape! (sound up) Read More

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via Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the Smithsonian’s National Zoo:

“Our giant panda cub is on the move! At 3.5 months old, Xiao Qi Ji’s movements are a mixture of crawling and walking. He has been practicing his coordination, though, and he is working on getting his back legs positioned under him and gaining traction on the floor of the indoor habitat he shares with his mother, Mei Xiang. Day by day, his walking skills improve.

…his weight, which is now 13.4 pounds (6.1 kilograms).”

To the video: Read More

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Mei Xiang (left) and Tian Tian (right) via Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the Smithsonian’s National Zoo:

“Giant pandas, icons and ambassadors for the efforts to save the species in Washington, D.C., since 1972, will continue to live at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo through the end of 2023. The three-year agreement extension signed by Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and China Wildlife and Conservation Association (CWCA) is effective through Dec. 7, 2023.

The terms of the agreement extension are similar to previous agreements. Cub Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji), born at the Zoo Aug. 21, female giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), age 22, and male giant panda Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), age 23, will go to China at the end of the three-year agreement extension.”

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