The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) in Washington DC will celebrate its three giant pandas before the bears depart for China later this year.

Visitors are invited to join the Panda Palooza, a nine-day onsite and online series of events in honor of 25-year-old Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), 26-year-old Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) and 3-year-old Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji) from Sept. 23 to Oct. 1.  

Giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, who arrived from China in 2000, and their four surviving cubs Xiao Qi Ji, Bei Bei (BAY-BAY), Bao Bao (BOW-BOW) and Tai Shan (tie-SHON), have created a living legacy of fans that spans multiple generations and countries.  

“Millions have connected with and grown up loving Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and their cubs by visiting us in Washington, D.C., and watching our Giant Panda Cam,” said Brandie Smith, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of NZCBI. “Caring for one animal and its future is the beginning of caring more deeply for the natural world and our place in it. Although this farewell is bittersweet, we must celebrate these bears and their impact on fans and on our understanding, care and conservation of their species.” 

 During Panda Palooza, guests can celebrate onsite at the Zoo and tune in online to the Giant Panda Cam for special moments. During the nine-day family-friendly celebration, visitors can dive into free panda-themed fun, supported by entertainment partner Events DC, including hashtag-worthy photo backdrops, hands-on arts and crafts, ‘Kids Area’ in the Great Meadow with a soft play section; chalkboard, coloring and stamping activities; morning family stretching and yoga along with panda talks, temporary tattoos, conservation-themed scavenger hunt, live music concerts on the Mainstage by Lion Tiger Hill and free film screenings of “Kung Fu Panda” and “The Miracle Cub” in the Visitor Center Theater. In addition, fun activities, a calligraphy station and tasty celebratory treats will be provided courtesy of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. National Zoo Members will have a designated hang-out area on the Panda Overlook with giveaways. Zoo food and beverage vendors will offer panda-themed items. Details on the events are available on the Zoo’s website and will continue to be updated. Free passes are required and can be obtained on the Zoo’s website