Monday, November 12, 2012

Giant Panda House (大熊猫馆) - Part of the 500 RMB Option Tours @ Beijing Zoo [北京动物园]

Although Singapore has welcomed its very first pair of Giant Pandas that would be permanently stationed in the little red dot for the next ten years, the attraction has yet to be open to the public.

Therefore, before the Giant Panda fever notches up, i have decided to give a preview. Not to the one in Singapore since i have not been invited by the Singapore Zoo but my recent escapade to the Giant Panda House at Beijing Zoo.

The attraction was separately priced and my ah-pek spectacles almost fell off when i saw the admission price; it's only 5 RMB (S$1) for each person! 

Besides the main stars, there were also smaller enclosures housing red pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, and golden pheasants. 

Like any decent zoo, informative panels are available to educate the visitors even though they are more skewed towards those with a good grasp of Chinese. 

In a nutshell, the panel was saying that the Giant Panda is a Class 1 Protected Species in China, life span is between 25 and 30 years, knows how to swim etc etc. 

Approaching the open-air enclosure! The temperature was chilly at less than ten degrees Celsius that morning and i am so glad to catch sight of a lazy fur-ball on top of a wooden platform!  

I might have visited the Singapore Zoo the last time it temporarily hosted the Giant Panda (which was more than ten years ago) but it was so far away and the place was jam packed with people ; i might be better off watching its relatives on National Geographic channel. 

See how near Dad was! And there were less than thirty people around us. 

That's not all - step into a much bigger building to feast your eyes on more adorable pandas! There were supposed to be cubs running behind the glass but i didn't get to see any. :(

Since it was nearing winter, the windows to the indoor enclosure were open to allow the cold air to flow in. 

Skeleton of a giant panda! The building provided a lot more information about the big fluffy mammal. For example, the Giant Panda was originally known as 猫熊, which means Cat Bear in English; a correct reference to its cat-like face. 

However, due to different reading formats for Chinese characters (from left to right versus right to left), the left-right version, 熊猫, became the norm instead.

To be frank, i would have enjoyed spending more than ten minutes in front of the giant pandas, watching and laughing at their cute, clumsy antics. 

The sad truth is - i was in the Giant Panda House for less than thirty minutes! 

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