The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base specializes in baby pandas and their care.
It is located on Futoushan Mountain in the northern suburbs of Chengdu, about 10 km (6 mi) from downtown Chengdu, and it can be reached in about 35 minutes by taxi.
The Giant Panda Museum is located at the base, and it is the world’s only museum that focuses entirely on the critically endangered giant panda.
The museum’s collection includes displays of panda habitat and of pictures of pandas, and there are many scientific displays that give visitors a comprehensive education on their characteristics, habitat and distribution in the wild, and China’s conservation and breeding efforts. The museum also exhibits books and scientific literature that authors around the world have written about giant pandas throughout history.
The Giant Panda Museum houses giant panda specimens, fossils and dissected pandas. Specimens of panda food is 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 endangered wild habitats in Qin Ling, Liangshan Mountain, Xiang Ling, Min Shan and Qiulai Mountain. These true-to-life exhibits cover an area of about 300 square meters.
The museum educates visitors on their evolutionary history, their ancient and present distribution in the wild, and their current situation as an endangered 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 endangered animal and its habitat and to promote public awareness and appreciation of this animal that is beloved by people all over the world.
The best time to visit is in the morning, during feeding time between 8:30 and 10:00. After then, it's likely that the bears will be indulging in their favorite pastime. Sleeping!
Lynne and Andy Buddin are China Highlights two-time customers from the UK. Below is an account of their visit in August 2014 to Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base, told by Lynne.
Anyway, spent most of the day sleeping, and preparing to meet a real life Giant Panda at Chengdu. SOOOO EXCITED!! All three of us, as our guide "Phoebe" was coming in with us, we did a deal, as so many times we try a once in a lifetime thing, either the weather, or the availability is not good but Phoebe really wanted to cuddle a panda too, and we figured if we had 3 cameras that was better than one!
There has been quite a lot of work done in the sanctuary since 2012, new frontage, better red panda enclosure, in which they are sometimes known to walk on the boardwalk with you, as they have holes in the fencing since they discovered they were crawling under it anyway!
The Pandas we saw all tiny and wrapped in blankets in a cot, were now nearly 2 and young infants, no longer small enough to cuddle but big enough to maul a person. Nice to see the progress. In the nursery this time a 2-week-old blind pink rat, with a little hair and just about black showing, two 3-month-old fluffy bundles with their eyes shut, bumbling about the incubator (still we are told being manually evacuated of faeces, not a glamorous job). Lastly two 2-month-olds who look proper. We queued 3 times for that as they move you on.
Then the BEST, we saw a video of u-tube clips of pandas doing what pandas do, then waited while they chased one year old babies round their cage to catch them. It seemed they were not keen to come, either that or the keepers were milking all the cheers. We went to a private yard, where they had a large driftwood bench, that they plonked a 25kgs, one year old on, we sat down in turn, besides him and stroked his head or belly, while he was fed the best bamboo tips dunked in honey, to bribe him to stay put.
It was amazing to be so close, a brilliant experience and it lasted a bit longer than we were told. Got some great photos but we had to wear gloves and blue disposable aprons, maybe Pandas don’t like to be upstaged. Maybe we shouldn’t do this but heah, both twin brothers we saw were loving the honey and the money goes to preservation and protection of the 2000 that are left in the wild.
The Research Center offers volunteer programs where participants can learn more about giant pandas and help take care of them. See more information on giant panda volunteer programs.
Note: Dujiangyan Panda Valley has reopened the volunteer program since March 24, 2015. And it allows visitors to take pictures holding a panda now. The program that allows visitors to take pictures holding a panda is still suspended in all panda bases (Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base, and Bifengxia Giant Panda Base). The reopening date is TBA.
Continue to read Everything You Want to Know about Giant Pandas
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