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People Finally Got to See the Baby Panda This Past Weekend

Xiao Qi Ji met his public. He was a goofball. It ruled.

Xiao Qi Ji. Photograph courtesy Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo reopened to the public this past weekend, and with all due respect to Poppy, the North American beaver who moved to DC from New York last year, the hottest ticket at the park was a chance to see Xiao Qi Ji. The young panda, whose name means “little miracle,” was one of the few good things to happen around DC in 2020 and was finally on view.

He did not disappoint. Here is a picture of him upside down. Normally, we’d encourage everyone to approach the world right-side-up, but this guy? Be King Wenceslas’s horse if you want!

Here’s a photo of him hanging in a tree like a loony-toon, but all youngsters have an approximate relationship with physics and anyway, it was super hot all weekend and I would have done this if I could.

Do you lie on your back eating bamboo on the weekend? If not, why not?

Hey bud.

If you want to visit the zoo, you’ll need to get a free timed pass (if you’re walking in) or a paid parking pass. The pandas require a separate pass, which you can get once you’re in the park. Zoo members can reserve a panda pass online.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.