Meeting the Pandas of Sichuan China

It is hard to believe we have already been back in Massachusetts for three weeks today.  Since my return, I am constantly asked what is my favorite destination?  One special place I find myself commenting on most often is the Sichuan province in China.  Ironically, I have not written about this trip due to the quick passage of time and inconvenient Chinese government blockade of  social media.   We have some great photos of special experiences, so as they say there is no better time than the present…

The Sichuan area of China is most famous for its celebrity residents the giant pandas.   

The number of wild pandas is dreadfully low at about 1500.  Pandas are very solitary creatures who do not mate often and have very vulnerable young.  Fortunately they can now be bred in captivity.  Worldwide there are under 300 in zoos and 106 are in a center located a short distance outside of Sichuan’s capital city of Chungdu .

We signed up for a zookeeper experience tour which allowed us to help care of the animals. We were given some “authentic” panda keeper outfits.

First we helped to feed the animals. They love bamboo of course…

and apparently apples as well.

The less glamourous part of being a zookeeper is cleaning the animal cage.    Sydney was very excited about scooping “panda poop” but she was too young to enter.  Aidan had no desire and Andy claimed photo duty.  Guess who was the official scooper!!   Yes we paid extra for this experience 🙂

One truly special panda experience is available at the center for another donation/fee – holding a panda.  Poor Aidan was sick the day we visited so he chose not to wait in line, but Sydney was very excited.   She put on her best panda gear for the occasion.

Then went with daddy to touch a real live panda.

These picture is priceless.  They look like old friends.

We considered helping this guy escape but the bars were too tough.

I guess we will have to be satisfied with only photos and memories of these special creatures of China.