White and black, fuzzy and cute, giant pandas are special animals. Significant to Chinese culture, they are often regarded as symbols for friendship and peace, in association with yin-yang.
Just as yin and yang must stay in perfect balance, so must the environments of these precious animals. They are one of the most endangered species on earth and scientists are working hard to help pandas thrive in captivity.
What do giant panda cubs and human babies have in common? More than meets the eye. In fact, the way zookeepers care for baby panda cubs is much like how doctors, nurses, moms and dads care for babies in hospitals and homes across the world.
In the new Take Me There:® China exhibit, opening May 10, 2014, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis recreates a panda care center located in Chengdu, China – complete with life-like pandas. Not only will children learn about the real science and work that goes into caring for an endangered species, they will be practicing caring behaviors that foster awareness and respect for the natural world.
In the immersive panda research station nursery at The Children's Museum, visitors will be invited to play the role of a panda keeper by keeping panda cubs warm and comfortable in incubators. Bottles, biscuits, bamboo and training foods are waiting to be prepared with a focus on the specific diets of pandas at each stage of development. Plush pandas can be measured, weighed and most importantly, cuddled – activities that zookeepers regularly perform to make sure that the panda cubs are thriving.
By learning how to care for giant panda cubs, children may gain a better understanding of and appreciation for their own upbringing. Just as parents have learned, their children will learn to nurture in the new Take Me There:® China exhibit.
Take a trip with your friends from The Children's Museum to Zoo Atlanta and participate in an exclusive behind-the-scenes encounter in which you will be able to meet and feed a giant panda. Participants will be treated to a personal tour of Zoo Atlanta, lunch and take part in activities all about giant pandas with The Children's Museum's Chief Science Educator, Dr. Kit Matthew. Visit The Children's Museum website for specific trip details.