Panda Mom Celebrates 22nd Birthday With Giant Ice Cake

The San Diego Zoo's famous giant panda, Bai Yun, turned 22 on Sept. 7

By Monica Garske
|  Sunday, Sep 8, 2013  |  Updated 1:40 PM EDT
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America's Favorite Pandas

San Diego Zoo

Giant panda mom Bai Yun enjoys a special ice cake in celebration of her 22nd birthday on September 7, 2013.

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The San Diego Zoo's famous giant panda mom, Bai Yun, celebrated her 22nd birthday on Saturday by indulging in a big, colorful cake alongside her family.

Bai Yun's birthday party began at 8:45 a.m. when zookeepers presented her with the fancy cake made of ice, bamboo, fruit and other panda-friendly treats.

It was a cake truly fit for a furry queen.

Zoo officials say the ice cake took an entire month to create with the help of many staffers. It was five feet tall and weighed 215-pounds (see photo below).

As soon as Bai Yun saw the cake, she walked over and began licking the ice and eating the bamboo. She shared the cool treat with her cubs, who climbed all over the cake and happily ate their share.

The zoo’s panda exhibit opens to the public at 9 a.m., so visitors were able to catch a glimpse of the birthday girl enjoying her special treat.

And she certainly didn't mind eating in front of company.

Bai Yun, whose name means “white cloud,” was born on September 7, 1991, at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in China. Her birth was the first-ever successful birth of a giant panda at the facility.

According to the zoo’s website, Bai Yun moved to the San Diego Zoo on September 10, 1996, where she has been living ever since.

Over the years, Bai Yun has given birth to six cubs at the San Diego Zoo: Hue Mei; Mei Sheng; Su Lin; Zhen Zhen; Yun Zi; and Xiao Liwu, who celebrated his 1st birthday this past July.

Zookeepers describe the panda mom as curious, unpredictable and mischievous. Her interests include caring for her children, climbing things and anything scented with cloves, pine or men’s cologne.

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