News & Politics

PHOTOS: Panda Xiao Qi Ji Celebrates His 3rd Birthday at the National Zoo

Sadly, it's the panda's last birthday in DC before heading to China.

Photograph by Evy Mages .

The youngest of the National Zoo’s giant pandas, Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji), turned three today, and to celebrate, he was given a specially made frozen fruit cake, as is the zoo’s tradition.

According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, this will be Xiao Qi Ji’s last birthday in DC. He and mother Mei Xiang (MAY-shong), who is 25, and father Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), who will get his own birthday party when he turns 26 on Sunday, August 27 (he’ll get his cake at 9 AM)—will leave the zoo by December.  The zoo is planning a big Panda Palooza farewell September 23 through October 1; details will be announced next month.

It seems like just yesterday we were oohing and awwing over each of the baby panda’s milestones and as he played in the snow.

Here are more photos of Xiao Qi Ji from today.

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.