The Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (or Panda Base for short) specializes in creating and imitating the natural habitat of giant pandas in order that they might have the best possible environment for rearing and breeding. It’s one of the most popular destinations for foreign travelers. And it’s a must-go place when you go to Chengdu.
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- Location: On Futou Mountain, in the northern suburbs of Chengdu, about 10 km (6 mi) from downtown Chengdu, it can be reached in about 35 minutes by taxi.
- Number of pandas: 50
- Time needed: half day
- Best time: Visit in the morning, or at least before 2pm, to see active giant pandas.
- Highlights: baby pandas, giant panda museum
Chengdu Panda Base not only takes care of breeding pandas, but also focuses on providing interactive activities that teach people about pandas and their protection. Besides cute giant pandas, there are also red pandas, black swans, and peacocks in the base.
It’s a research center, so, unlike a zoo, it does not focus on displaying the animals. Sometimes the giant pandas are all sleeping indoors, so that you can’t see any of them eating, playing, or climbing outside.
Best Time to Visit — 8:30–10 am
Giant pandas like cool weather. At cool times, giant pandas will play outside. But in summer time, pandas are likely to stay indoors to avoid the summer heat (over 26˚C or 79°F).
Tips for Visiting in Hot Summer Time
If you are visiting in hot summer time (June, July, August) and don’t see any pandas outside, you are suggested to go to the giant panda enclosures and delivery houses to see giant pandas indoors.
The panda base opens from 7:30am to 6:00pm. The best time to visit is in the morning, especially during feeding time between 8:30 and 10:00. After that, it’s likely that the pandas will be indulging in their favorite pastime: sleeping!
The trees and bamboos are tall and can shade you from the summer heat. You may feel cool when walking around in the morning.
See New-Born Pandas in August and September
Pandas usually give birth in August. Thus visitors can see new-born pandas or panda babies in August and September. If you are visiting the base in this period, don’t forget to see the pink or fluffy panda babies in Moonlight Delivery House and Sunshine Nursery house.
You can take photos of new-born pandas, but no flash use is allowed. If there are no new-born pandas to see, you can always go to the kindergarten to see young active pandas.
The Giant Panda Museum — Learn about Giant Pandas
The Giant Panda Museum at the base is the world’s only museum that focuses entirely on the giant panda. You can learn a lot about this at-risk animal in the museum.
See Giant Panda Fossils and Life-Like Displays
The Giant Panda Museum houses giant panda specimens, fossils, and dissected pandas.
Specimens of panda food are displayed, and the museum also houses many large true-to-life exhibits of giant pandas in their natural environment in ancient times and in their present wild habitats. These true-to-life exhibits cover an area of about 300 square meters.
Education About Panda Evolution, Habitat, and Protection
The museum educates visitors about giant pandas’ evolutionary history, their ancient and present distribution in the wild, and their current situation as a vulnerable species, as well as on the present purpose and focus of scientific research.
Visitors will see that the Chinese government is making a concerted effort both to protect this at-risk animal and its habitat, and to promote public awareness and appreciation of this animal that is beloved by people all over the world.
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