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It’s the Last Summer Weekend to Party With Pandas at the National Zoo

Tian Tian will celebrate his 25th birthday with cake and toys Saturday—and you're invited.

Giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji celebrates his 2nd birthday with fruitsicle cake at the National Zoo. Photograph by David Andrews.

It’s been total panda-monium at the National Zoo, which is celebrating both the 50th Pandaversary of the giant bears in Washington, and a series of panda family “bearthdays.” This weekend marks the culmination of the bamboo bashes, as patriarch Tian Tian will celebrate his 25th birthday on Saturday, August 27—and everyone is invited. 

So let’s talk about the most exciting part of any birthday—cake. Panda cub Xiao Qi Ji celebrated his second birthday last week with a fruitsicle confection (it was all incredibly cute,). But we’re talking about the big man now, Tian “The Man” Tian. Of course there’s something extra-special in store. Representatives from the zoo say his keepers have a “special enrichment” planned, including painted silver boxes filled with toys and treats. The Department of Nutrition Sciences Commissary team is also making a special ice cake of diluted fruit juice and other favorite foods.

The public is invited to celebrate and watch the gifting at 9 AM, and also tune in via Panda Cam. We’re also pretty into the fresh panda merch that’s only available through August 31—especially the unbearably cute baby panda onesie

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.