Taking center stage on the city of Chengdu’s attraction list is the ‘Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding’. Its the largest and most successful breeding center being home to many pandas both young and old. Pandas are bred at the large park and along with being a popular tourist attraction, it also functions research and breeding center.
Pandas are bred at the center, raised and many are then re-introduced into the wild. Along with the quite famous Giant Panda there are also Red Pandas and apparently the park also has tigers and monkeys, but I’m not sure where the last two where hiding, I didn’t spot them.
The trick to this place is getting there early, for two reasons, first reason is to beat the crowds, and I’m talking about crowds on a China scale, tour buses pour into this place. Second reason is to see the pandas being fed as per the photo below:
This group of four where the only ones I saw that came out of there shelters and apparently these are quite young. The older bigger bears just laze around in their shelters and can be hard to catch out and about. Feeding time for the young cubs is definitely the best time as this is when they are most active, otherwise you could be a little disappointed just seeing pandas sleeping inside a concrete cave.
The center is quite large and can take some time to walk around all the different enclosures. The pandas enclosures have quite large open outdoor play areas replicating their natural environment. In the park there is also a large lake featuring some noisy and inquisitive ducks and geese.
I booked a taxi for the trip there and back, as I was told that the public bus option can be a little confusing. The taxi took me out to the centre, waited two hours and then brought me back to the Tibet Hotel Chengdu where I was staying. All up it cost around 200rmb (yuan) for the taxi and 60rmb for entry, which is a total of about $40 aud.
Also at the Panda Bear Research Base is a museum which has some interesting artifacts and some even more interesting stories depicted in several peices of art, such as the one below (note the angry warrior panda!)
Address: 1375 Xiongmao Avenue, Chenghua, Chengdu
Official website of the Panda Research Base panda.org.cn/english/
Chengdu Panda Base Map Location map also features nearby hotels