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Here's how the National Zoo is celebrating 50 years of giant pandas

The celebratory events will continue through the summer, ending on Aug. 27, and will spotlight a mix of online and on-site events.

WASHINGTON — The National Zoo is igniting six months of fun in celebration of their giant pandas, which have now been cared for at the zoo for 50 years. 

The announcement comes on National Panda Day and officially acknowledged all of the popular pandas currently in the zoo’s care. The in-residence giant panda family includes 24-year-old male Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), 23-year-old female Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and their 18-month-old male cub Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji).

RELATED: National Zoo, Natural History Museum now open seven days a week, Smithsonian says

“Ever since their arrival, giant pandas have symbolized cross-cultural collaboration between the United States and China,” the zoo stated via press release, adding that they’ve renewed their Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association three times since 2000. 

RELATED: Giant pandas no longer endangered, China says

“The current research extension was signed Dec. 7, 2020, and stipulates the Zoo’s pandas will continue to live at the Zoo through 2023. In exchange, the Zoo contributes funds and expertise toward conservation efforts in China.”

The celebratory events will continue through the summer, ending on Aug. 27 and will spotlight a mix of online and on-site events. Full details on the events are available on the Zoo’s website

RELATED: Giant panda's big day | National Zoo's cub turns 1

Events coming up in the next month:

March 16 -  The Giant Panda Family Tree Photo Gallery invites visitors to explore the Zoo’s successful giant panda breeding program and follow how cubs born at the Zoo are contributing to their species’ survival in China. This gallery is located in the outdoor giant panda exhibit.

April 7 - National Head Start goes to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo for a virtual field trip to meet the Zoo’s giant panda family.

April 8 - Pandaversary: The Smithsonian invites panda fans to shop online for a selection of limited-edition merchandise commemorating the Giant Panda 50th Anniversary. Products featuring all eight pandas who have lived at the Zoo will be available for purchase at www.NationalZooPanda.com beginning April 8 for a limited time. Proceeds directly support the Smithsonian and the National Zoo’s animal and conservation programs, the zoo says. 

April 16 and 17 - The world premiere of the Smithsonian Channel’s documentary on the Zoo’s giant panda program, “The Miracle Panda,” will be screened for a limited time at the Zoo’s Visitor Center Theater. This screening is free and open to the public.

April 16 - Pandaversary: From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors can enjoy lion dance performances, panda-shaped Bao buns and calligraphy demonstrations, courtesy of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, speak with the Zoo’s scientists who study giant panda biology and ecology, and see the pandas receive special enrichment treats.

April 17 - Pandaversary: From 10 a.m. to noon, visitors can enjoy a performance by Dong Xi, a musical collaboration between award-winning percussionist Tom Teasley and renowned Chinese dulcimer artist Chao Tian. The Zoo’s giant pandas also will receive enrichment treats as part of the celebration.

April 21 - Spend an evening with the experts behind the pandas in this panel-format program and hear what it takes to study, raise and care for giant pandas.

Find the rest of the slated summer events by clicking here.

The zoo celebrates its care, conservation, breeding and study of the pandas through their months-long festivities.

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