by Andrew Ramonas August 17, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

Giant panda cub Bei Bei (Photo via Facebook/Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute)

The National Zoo’s newest giant panda is set to have a first birthday party this weekend, and you’re invited.

The zoo is scheduled to give birthday boy Bei Bei and his family “panda-friendly frozen cakes” in their exhibit at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to a news release. His mom, Mei Xiang; his dad, Tian Tian; and his sister, Bao Bao, are expected to join the cub in eating the treats.

For humans, the zoo will have a limited supply of a cold, spicy Chinese dish called Dan Dan noodles available for free beginning at 11 a.m.

Bei Bei also is slated to participate in a Zhuazhou ceremony, a Chinese tradition for first birthday celebrations.

The zoo adds in its news release:

In a traditional ceremony, several symbolic objects are placed in front of the baby. The object that the baby chooses foretells something about his or her future. Bei Bei will have three banners with painted symbols placed in his yard. He or his mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) will choose one.

But only Friends of the National Zoo members will get to see the ritual in person. Everyone else can watch the rite on Facebook at 8 a.m. The zoo’s Facebook page also will have live video of the pandas with the birthday cakes.

Photo via Facebook/Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

by Alyse Mier June 30, 2016 at 10:15 am 48 Comments

Photo via Direct Action EverywhereNearly a dozen people say they plan to gather outside the National Zoo this weekend to speak out against animal captivity.

Members of the animal rights organization Direct Action Everywhere will peacefully voice their opinions on caged animals in the zoo this Sunday at 1 p.m.

“Zoos are like prisons,” said protest organizer Barbara Glick. “We don’t believe in these. We’re just trying to speak up about how animals suffer, whether it’s for entertainment, food, or clothing.”

Direct Action Everywhere is an international animal rights organization that calls for total animal liberation. The protest, Glick said, is meant to raise awareness over the “unnatural” conditions in which the animals are kept, and to call zookeepers out on their “hypocrisy.”

“Zoos don’t allow for natural behavior. They can’t mate naturally, get food naturally, they’re killing families,” said Glick. “The ironic part is how people talk about how much they love animals, but then walk around the zoo eating a hamburger.”

After the demonstration, the group plans to head to National Harbor to protest animals in circuses.

“It’s right before Independence Day, which is really perfect because we’re celebrating independence [by protesting],” Glick added.

Photo via Direct Action Everywhere

by Tim Regan January 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

You’ve probably heard by now that the National Zoo has two new red pandas.

The boy-and-girl duo, named Tusa and Asa, are the zoo’s first red pandas since the previous red pandas, Rusty and Shama, left roughly two years ago. (more…)

by Andrew Ramonas January 5, 2016 at 4:45 pm 1 Comment

David Grosso (Photo via Councilmember David Grosso has waded into a heated debate over the National Zoo’s new, shortened hours, calling on the leader of the zoological park to bring back its old opening and closing times.

In a letter sent to director Dennis Kelly yesterday, Grosso wrote that locals who live near the zoo are “extremely disappointed” by the decision to open the facility at 8 a.m. and close it at 7 p.m. in the summer and 5 p.m. in the winter. The zoo had opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m. in the summer and 6 p.m. in the winter before the new hours went into effect Friday.

Some D.C. residents are petitioning for the return of the old hours. But zoo officials haven’t budged on the new opening and closing times, saying the old hours posed a safety risk to pedestrians who shared the same paths as zoo vehicles when it was dark.


by Tim Regan December 28, 2015 at 12:30 pm 0

Zoo sign, photo via Facebook / NationalZoo

Visitors to the National Zoo will be able to enjoy early mornings and late nights for just a while longer.

The zoo is scheduled to switch over to its new hours this Friday on New Year’s Day. Instead of opening at 6 a.m., the zoo will open at 8 a.m, and instead of closing at 8 p.m. in the summer and 6 p.m. in the winter, it will close at 7 and 5 p.m., respectively.

Though the change helped spawn a new petition to keep the old hours, not all Borderstan readers are particularly upset by the change. In an extremely unscientific poll we conducted earlier this month, about 40.5 percent of respondents said the zoo should open at 6 a.m., but the same amount of people answered that they didn’t care because they’d be asleep either way.

Photo via Facebook / NationalZoo

by Tim Regan December 11, 2015 at 10:25 am 0

Bei Bei independent

That is the face of one independent panda cub.

The National Zoo announced yesterday that Bei Bei, who as of Dec. 7 weighed 16 pounds, has “become more independent.” Though he can’t quite eat bamboo, he is “mouthing it, which is typical of a cub his age.” Typical, baby panda Bei Bei. Typical.

More B-B-BREAKING Panda details from the National Zoo:

Bei Bei’s teeth are continuing to come in, but we’re not sure if he experiences teething the way human babies do. When we hand-raised our sloth bear cub Remi, we noticed that she experienced discomfort when her teeth were coming in. Since keepers do not have constant, direct contact with Bei Bei, it is hard to definitively tell if he is experiencing something similar.

During the day when keepers are present, we’ve noticed that Mei Xiang spends most of the day separate from Bei Bei. This is natural and a good indication of his increasing independence. Keepers will begin training Bei Bei soon with simple behaviors that will aid in basic husbandry, specifically name recognition and touching a target.

The David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat has been closed to the public since Aug. 20 to provide quiet, and will remain closed until Bei Bei’s public debut on January 16. Prior to the debut, you can see Bei Bei on the panda cam, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund.

Photo courtesy of the National Zoo

by Tim Regan December 9, 2015 at 4:30 pm 0

Bei Bei sitting

It’s no secret that the National Zoo is getting new hours.

Starting Jan. 1, instead of opening at 6 a.m., the zoo will open at 8 a.m, and naturally, some people are miffed.

Last month, a Greater Greater Washington writer bemoaned the change in hours, saying it would bar early risers from jogging through the park, and a new petition urges zoo director Dennis Kelly to “keep the 6 a.m. opening time.”

The zoo says the forthcoming change is safety-related, and as a tradeoff, will begin opening its animal houses an hour earlier at 9 a.m.

What time do you think the zoo should open? Weigh in by voting in the poll and telling us what you think in the comments. Or just post panda pictures … we won’t be upset if you do.

Photo courtesy of the National Zoo

by Tim Regan November 17, 2015 at 11:50 am 0

Bei Bei, photo courtesy of the National Zoo

WARNING: Incoming panda. I repeat, we are at panda code delta. This is not a drill.

Bei Bei, the District’s newest beloved furry panda animal, will make his national debut on Jan. 16, the National Zoo announced today.

And if you’re a Friends of the National Zoo member, you just lucked out. Member previews will be Jan. 8-15.

What a time to be alive.

Photo courtesy of the National Zoo

by Tim Regan November 4, 2015 at 9:40 am 0

Bei Bei, photo via National Zoo

Good morning. Here’s a photo of Bei Bei sulking in a box.

“Bei Bei weighed 9.5 lbs on Fri!” tweeted the Smithsonian National Zoo yesterday afternoon. “He’s still working on building up his rear leg strength.”

Zoo officials added that the panda cub’s mother, Mei Xiang, has been leaving him on the rock work in her indoor enclosure for safe-keeping.

They did not say whether they might soon photograph the tiny panda sulking in a bag or posed atop a decorative tray.

For future Bei Bei developments from the National Zoo, follow the hashtag #PandaStory on Twitter and Instagram.

Photo via

by October 28, 2015 at 2:45 pm 1 Comment

Bei Bei, photo courtesy of National Zoo

Do you like the National Zoo’s prized new panda, Bei Bei?

Be honest.

Do you care about that panda? Do you care when it sneezes? Do you care that it now weighs nearly 10 pounds? Do you watch the panda cam at work? Do you care about it? Do you? Do you?

We had a thought this morning — perhaps a little more panda coverage on Borderstan wouldn’t be a bad thing. Perhaps you’d like to be updated as the panda cub matures into a much larger panda … creature. Perhaps you’d like to read about when it tumbles through the snow for the first time or when it meets a major celebrity.

Then again, perhaps you’re sick of hearing about the panda. Perhaps you think the panda is a nuisance in your newsfeed. Perhaps you’d rather see less of the furry little ball.

So, let’s put it to a vote. Panda yeah or panda nah? You tell us. And if you feel especially passionate, let us know why you feel that way in the comments below.

Photo courtesy of National Zoo

by September 10, 2012 at 6:00 am 1,698 0

Tired Panda is by ep_jhu from the Borderstan Flickr pool.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, “Tired Panda” was taken by ep_jhu. The photo was taken at the National Zoo, which includes the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from DC’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

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by April 16, 2012 at 7:55 am 2,628 0

From Mary Burgan. Email her at mary[AT]

What are you doing this weekend? Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day around the world, the 42nd Anniversary of the first one, to be exact. There a number of activities in the neighborhood and in DC, starting on Saturday the 21st right in Logan Circle.

Take the Ecological Footprint Calculator test on the Earth Day website to see what your own impact is on the Earth. It’s a fun and enlightening exercise. Warning: You may not be pleased with your results!

Saturday: Green Rush Scavenger Hunt Starts in Logan Circle

Green, Rush, Clean, Currents, Live, Green, Logan, Circle

The Green Rush Scavenger Hunt kicks off in Logan Circle this Saturday at 2:30 pm. (Image courtesy Live Green)

If you like sticking around the neighborhood on Saturday, the day before Earth Day, you can join a scavenger hunt called Green Rush, sponsored by two local entities — Live Green and Clean Currents (which sells wind power). Green Rush begins at Logan Circle at 2:30 pm and ends with a party at 5:30 pm at Liv at 2001 11th Street NW. (You can also get more information on the Live Green Facebook page.)

If you and at least one other person are interested, start planning now — there are certain “green rules” for participating. Teams of two to five people will compete in challenges and decode clues for a chance to win a $1,000 Grand Prize. You need to register and purchase tickets for the scavenger hunt. There are also volunteer opportunities if you don’t want to take part in the hunt.

As part of Green Rush, there is even a Foodie Award: “Teams that indulge in samples at all restaurants participating in the Green Rush will be added to a raffle to win $30 gift certificates to Pete’s Apizza (2 available) or a $100 gift certificate to Cafe Green.” There is also a Green Spirit Award, an Orange you Green Award and a Moe Down Thrown Down Award, in addition to the $1,000 Grand Prize.

Other local businesses helping sponsor the event are The Bike Rack, Cafe Green, Base Camp, Local 16.

Saturday: Anacostia Watershed Cleanup

Saturday, April 21 is annual clean up day of the Anacostia River and watershed: “Join the Anacostia Watershed Society and other local organizations as we work to clean up the Anacostia River and its tributaries in honor of Earth Day. Last year, more than 2,000 volunteers helped us remove more than 42 tons of trash from the river!” This year’s clean up is from 9 am to noon at about 40 sites throughout the Anacostia Watershed in DC, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland.

Sunday: Mobilize the Earth Event on the National Mall

The Mobilize the Earth event is on the National Mall from 11 am to 7 pm — there with big names in entertainment and public life, energy-saving demonstrations and more.

Sunday: National Zoo Events

Go to the National Zoo for a variety of events. Meet the Zoo’s Green Team experts, participate in green-themed crafts and learn simple daily actions that help you enjoy a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

More Earth Day Activities and Ideas

If you want to plan something more personalized to celebrate Earth Day, the organization’s website offers a number of other ideas for individual and collective efforts on April 22 — with kids, family, friends or civic/church groups. You can take the Ecological Footprint Calculator test to see what your own impact is on the Earth. It’s a fun and enlightening exercise. Warning: You may not be pleased with your results!

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by April 27, 2011 at 5:00 am 2,489 0

Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, U Street NW, Borderstan

News from Dupont-Logan-U Street (mostly).

From Alejandra Owens. Catcher her on Twitter @frijolita.

It’s RAMMY Season – Vote With Your Gut

Remember when we told you that a bunch of Borderstan restaurants were nominated for RAMMYs? Well this year, public votes will determine the outcome of four categories — Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gathering Place, Power Spot and the Your Favorite Restaurant, a “write-in” category. So go “Eat the Vote” from April 28 to May 5. According the RAMMY website there will be, “creative events full of food and cocktail specials and energetic fun.” Yeah.


by October 29, 2010 at 8:43 am 1,450 0

Borderstan map

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From Michelle Lancaster

What You Need to Know: Sanity and Fear Weekend

In case you have been hiding from all forms of media, you know by now that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central fame have arrived in D.C. in advance of their weekend rallies, “The Rally to Restore Sanity” and “March to Restore Fear” respectively. What do you need to know to survive the weekend? Here’s what Metro and driving will look like, thanks to DCist. Before you hit the bars, see where the crowd may head, based on the guide compiled by Brightest Young Things and plan accordingly.

Real Fear from WMATA Terror Plot

Federal law enforcement officials made an arrest in a plot to bomb Metro stations Wednesday morning, raising new fears of possible terrorist targets in D.C. The arrest was the result of an undercover sting operation. Farooque Ahmed of Ashburn is alleged to have conspired with people he thought to be Al Qaeda operatives in casing stations for possible targets. Full story can be found at Washington Post

West End Cinema to Open Today

While we may not be getting Visions on Florida Ave. reopened anytime soon, we nonetheless applaud the effort to restore the always excellent combination of movies and booze. It’s at 2301 M St. and will offer a full bar and a range of movies. More information can be found at their site,

Lions and Moats, Oh My!

Yeah, we’re borrowing shamelessly from every other news outlet in the city and ending our news roundup with fluff, in this case, lion fluff. You can make a tie in to Halloween, you can blame it on Stewart and Colbert sucking up all the ink but one thing is for sure – they are an adorable way to end your week. DCist has plenty of pictures.


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