Watch Giant Pandas and Other Zoo Animals Frolic in the Snow

The weekend’s winter snowfall in Washington, D.C. delighted the giant pandas, red pandas, Andean bears and other critters at the National Zoo

Giant panda cub experiences first snow
Giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji experiences snow for the first time just beyond his indoor exhibit on Sunday. Though he did not venture further, his parents Mei Xiang and Tian Tian played around outside. The National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Winter storms and snowfall aren’t just celebrated by humans in search of good sledding and a fierce snowball fight. As it turns out, giant pandas also enjoy frolicking around in the snow.

A new video released by the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute shows giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian sliding and rolling around in their habitat, which received about 2.5 inches of snow by Sunday evening in Washington, D.C. Most of the Capitol City and surrounding areas saw around 2 to 3 inches of snow over the weekend.

Native to cold environments, the Smithsonian’s giant pandas are among several National Zoo animals active during the winter season. The mountain temperatures they are acclimated to are highly similar to winter temperatures in D.C.

Most of the animals at the National Zoo are suited to the year-round weather. Gray wolves, beavers, red pandas, alpacas and Amur tigers are among the Zoo’s winter-celebrating residents. Outdoor exhibits also feature dens and heated rocks to accommodate animals in the snow and rain, while indoor exhibits offer warmth to both animals and visitors.

Atop a snow-covered log, an Andean or spectacled bear, which is native to the Andes, is quite comfortable traversing the chilly temps. Sara Colandrea via the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
The fur of a fishing cat, one of the largest of 28 small cat species and currently found across South and Southeast Asia, is sprinkled with snowflakes. Sara Colandrea via the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
An Asian elephant, which are native to India and Southeast Asia, takes a walk in the snow; for warmth, the animal can hurry back into the Zoo's heated, indoor elephant house. Jason Gue via the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
A red panda, a species that inhabits high-altitude, temperate forests with bamboo understories in the Himalayas and other high mountains, seems contented to be traipsing through the snow at the Zoo. Mariel Lally via the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
A red panda sits in the snow. Mariel Lally via the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

From October through mid-March, the National Zoo is normally open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. eastern. However, the Zoo along with other Smithsonian museums are currently closed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Those interested in virtually keeping up with the Zoo’s animals can explore the five webcams continuously streaming giant pandas, lions, elephants, cheetah cubs, and naked mole rats. Parents can also print an at-home activity packet that utilizes the Zoo webcams to provide elementary-aged students animal-education lessons.