A new interactive exhibit in the Panda House at the Smithsonian National Zoo opened Saturday, drawing fans of D.C.'s famous Chinese expatriates.
The interactive exhibit features a series of games and activities, which teach visitors about the ecology, conservation, history and care of giant pandas.
On Saturday, The Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China hosted a housewarming party sponsored by Airbnb to celebrate the exhibit’s opening.
Steven Monfort, the institute director, welcomed visitors to the ceremonial ribbon-cutting.
“So much has changed for giant pandas, for the better, in the past decade,” Monfort said at the ceremony. “This updated exhibit is really inspiring because it shows how much of a difference we can make with science and cooperation.”
Throughout the ceremony, the exhibit’s star pandas, Bei Bei, Tien Tien and Mei Xiang, as well as the other pandas, received special frozen treats, created by the zoo's Department of Nutrition Science to look like noodle bowls.
Through new spinning and maze games, visitors of the Panda House can now “navigate” the effects of habitat loss on bamboo forests.
A digital matching game that uses real camera-trap photos from Smithsonian scientists’ work in China invites trivia buffs and future scientists to put their knowledge of the panda exhibit to the test.
Spectators can also explore the new videos and photos included in the exhibit to see how the keepers keep the pandas active and stimulated, as well as how the pandas prepare for veterinary exams.
The exhibit is now open to the public.