|Panda bear Mei Xiang in National Zoo, Washington D.C.|
Our visit to the National Zoo was delayed one day. Our primary goal was to visit the panda bear exhibit. However, on our intended visit day, the female panda bear, Mei Xiang was being artificially inseminated hence the exhibit was closed.
The next morning was overcast with showers. Normally, we would prefer to visit the zoo on a sunny day. However, there were no entrance fees to the zoo. Having confirmed on the phone with the zoo that the panda bear exhibit would be opened, we drove there. Since we were there for almost three hours, we paid $16 for the parking fees.
We arrived at the most opportune time since it was the feeding hours. We saw both the panda bears, the female Mei Xiang (meaning "beautiful fragrance") and the male Tian Tian (meaning "more and more"). Mei Xiang is approaching fifteen years old and Tien Tien is almost sixteen. A zoologist was there providing an informal Q and A session with the visitors.
According to the zoologist, Mei Xiang was feeding voraciously since she was not fed prior to being anesthetized for the artificial insemination procedure the day before. Only time will tell whether Mei Xiang will be a mom.