For our first day in Beijing we decided to knock the Beijing Zoo off our ‘To Do’ list. Justin has been repeatedly talking about pandas this whole week, so we thought finally seeing the pandas would quiet him. Getting to the Zoo on public transportation was easy. We had a 15 minute walk down a shady street to Tiananmen Square East Station where we went into the subway. Tickets were only two yuan (.30) a person to travel anywhere on the subway. Signs were clearly marked in English and we had no trouble navigating the subway.
We wanted to get to the zoo by 9 AM because we had read on Trip Advisor that the pandas were fed between 9 and 10 AM. We got into the zoo just after 9 AM and immediately went to the pandas. As reported, they were munching contentedly on their bamboo. We saw four pandas in different enclosures. Almost exactly at 10 AM two of the pandas stopped eating and went to sleep. It was a good thing we had gotten to the zoo early. Besides seeing pandas, we discovered that the visitors are allowed to feed the zoo animals. We watched people throwing bok choy and apples to the elephants. At the zebra enclosure, the zebras were munching veggies right at the fence. There was no barrier or ditch to separate the animals from the people on the other side of the horizontal wire fence, so Jordan and Justin got to touch a zebra. No zoo attendants around to say otherwise. Visitors could also pay a 10 yuan fee to get into a special area to feed the giraffes apple slices, which we did without hesitation. Coaxing the giraffes’ long blue tongues out to their full extent to grab an apple slice was quite cool.
Also, on display at the zoo was China’s one child policy. Once we got away from the panda section of the zoo, we were pretty much the only westerners around. As our visit was on a Friday, a school day, the only kids were younger than 5 years old. There were a lot of toddlers running around, but there was only one per family. We were the only family with two children, and boys to boot. Sometimes here I think the Chinese must think I feel like a king for having two boys.