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Take Me There: China Top 10—Panda Research Center

Years of research, including many staff trips, went into making the Take Me There:® China exhibit. In this blog series, you'll see how we were inspired by the people, places, and traditions of modern China as we recreated these top ten exhibit highlights. You'll also get a snapshot of what your family will experience in these extraordinary spaces—brought to you straight from our exhibit developers!

In the Environment section of Take Me There: China, your family will learn about the important, ongoing work at Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Station as you explore a recreation of the Panda Nursery and observe pandas in their enclosures. The Chinese are studying pandas and working hard to increase the number of animals in captivity. They're quite proud of their “national treasures.”

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Role play the job of a panda keeper in the Panda Nursery. Carry a stuffed panda over to one of the two check-up stations to weigh or measure it, listen to the heartbeat or take a temperature. At nearby incubators, keepers can place pandas inside and learn how newborns must always be kept warm. Keepers can also take the panda to a feeding station, where baby bottles with "formula" and leaf-eater "biscuits" will be available to feed the cubs, as well as pretend play apples and bananas. Examine real x-ray images of pandas’ special adaptations (a wrist bone that is used as a thumb) and compare it with x-rays of human hands.

See how pandas are trained at Chengdu. Keepers enrich the pandas’ daily schedule with toys and feeding challenges to keep the bears active and alert. Observe two young pretend bears (six to 18 months) who are posed with typical training materials like a slide and feeding balls. The other enclosure features an adult bear eating bamboo. Learn facts about pandas, hear panda sounds, and find out about the various duties of panda keepers through an interactive computer program.

Other things to see and do:

  • Photos will feature new pandas born at Chengdu, as well as other pandas born at zoos around the world, such as Lun Lun and her twin cubs at Zoo Atlanta, a partner of the Chengdu Center.
  • Video clips will highlight panda check-ups, moms and cubs cuddling, panda cubs in incubators, and panda's enjoying outdoor enrichment activities.
  • An artifact case displays a range of Chinese objects featuring pandas, showing how incredibly popular Pandas are in China.


Catch up on all of the Take Me There: China Top 10, or read up on staff adventures in China in our Creative Director's blog series: "Ned's Excellent China Adventure," Part 1 and Part 2.

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Categories: China, Exhibits,
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