The sun is setting on giant panda Bei Bei’s stay in D.C. and it’s time to give a fond farewell to the fluffiest of friends.
Bei Bei will move to China on Nov. 19. and starting next week, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo — the only home he’s ever known — will host events from Nov. 11 to Nov. 18, leading up to his departure.
Every day, Bei Bei’s fans and friends can pour their hearts out to him at a postcard station next to his outdoor habitat from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All postcards will be sent with Bei Bei to China.
At 9 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. every day, panda keepers will give Bei Bei his daily treats. Watch along as he eats some of his favorites like sugar, fruitsicles, bamboo, honey, pumpkin spice, applesauce, ice cakes, biscuits, sweet potatoes and more.
Panda keepers will host a daily Q&A from 11 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. to answer all your burning Bei Bei questions. Check the board at the giant panda exhibit or along Asia Trail to find the exact location of each day’s demonstration.
Those getting to the zoo early Saturday, Nov. 16 are in for a treat. The Chinese Embassy will serve up some fresh dumplings for panda fans at 8:30 a.m. in honor of Bei Bei. The dumplings will be shaped like an ancient gold-bar, or “yuan bao,” which represents perfection and completion. There will be a limited amount of dumplings, so get there early.
Also starting at 8:30 a.m., visitors can wash the dumplings down with some hot cocoa (while supplies last) courtesy of Airbnb. The hot chocolate continues Sunday starting at 8:30 a.m.
On both Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors can make their own friendship and luck bracelets near the Olmstead Walk across from the Panda Plaza.
If you can’t make it out to Bei Bei’s going away festivities, you can always tune in online: The zoo’s panda cam will focus exclusively on Bei Bei from Nov. 11 to Nov. 18. (It’s OK if you accidentally “aww” out loud — literally every person at work will be watching the same thing!)
Bei Bei turned 4 years old in August, and under a cooperative breeding agreement between China and the U.S., that marks the age pandas must move back to China and prepare to breed with other pandas.
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