While in Chengdu we made a donation to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to hold baby pandas. The cost for the donation was 2000 Chinese Yuan (a little over $300) each – which is subject to change. I have seen various costs for the donation fee online, but that was the amount as of April 2014. What you received for the amount was priceless. We were able to hold the baby pandas for about a minute each (so 2 minutes total). It goes by quick but it is SO worth it! Side note – they may not allow people to hold the baby pandas some days depending on how the pandas are feeling or if they reach the limit to how many people already signed up.
The workers there will take images/video with your device as well as professional photos. You must wear protective clothing so the panda does not come into contact with you. Also they gave us a goodie bag with a few keepsakes inside.
Now before we checked this off our bucket list, I looked at a few different blogs to see what people received along with the experience. Some bloggers received shirts and others items, so I think the Research Base changes their gifts often. We received a magnetic frame with 2 professional images, a magazine, a blue neck tie (even if you are a female donating. Side note – there are no pandas on it), a panda pin, information to find your donation information online (little panda card photoed), a certificate for your donation, as well as one stuffed panda bear (in either pink or blue, you also had the choice of a mother holding a baby panda without the shirt).
Here is the video of us holding the baby pandas!
Remember, if you ever get the opportunity to hold these wonderful creatures, they are still bears. They are distracted by honey covered bamboo sticks they do not even eat. They just lick the honey off of them. These are passed to the pandas by a Research Base worker who’s job is to hand honey sticks to baby pandas (I would love this job). You will see about a minute into the video that the baby I am holding gets a little fussy, so they rush him back and bring out his twin brother for Tyler to hold. This truly was the experience of a lifetime!