Beijing, China: Day 5 – Pandas/Zoo

On our 5th day in China, we decided that our kids could use a more familiar activity and decided to take them to the Beijing Zoo and Aquarium. They were delighted and left feeling amazed!

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Friday, November 28, 2014

After a subway ride to the zoo, we paid a ridiculously inexpensive admission fee, about $2, and made our way to the panda cages. To our delight, they were active and feeding on a delicious meal of bamboo.

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The boys spent a long time, watching in fascination. This exhibit was really well done. The animals had a ton of space and it genuinely looked like they were happy with their habitat.

We continued on to the monkey cages, and we were again delighted with very active animals. Trying to get John to look at us for the photo, rather than the creature behind him was quite an accomplishment.

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Jeremy and I always love the polar bears, and were thrilled to be able to get fairly close to them.

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This visit really emphasized that getting to the zoo early typically results in more active animals.

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The Aquarium

At this point, we took a detour to the Aquarium, which is part of the zoo, but had an additional admission fee. The aquarium’s admission fee was somewhat steeper than the zoo’s – nowdays, adults are roughly $20, though children under 3.9 feet tall are free. Still, it was a reasonably good value for what was on display.

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I have to say that if you leave ethical issues aside, this was probably one of the most impressive aquariums that I have ever seen. The number of majestic creatures is quite awe inspiring.

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For some of the larger animals, some of the tanks were somewhat too small. The sounds that the beluga were making didn’t necessarily sound like happy sounds, at least from its not-so-big tank. And there were way too many dolphins in each tank. Still, the kids left feeling very impressed. Hopefully the aquarium will build bigger tanks at some point.

Back to the Zoo

Finishing in the Aquarium, we re-entered the zoo, stopping at an elephant statue on the way.

Eventually, we made it to the rhinoceroses.

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The giraffes looked a bit sadder than some of the other animals.

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At one point, we were given some lettuce and other greens to feed to some of the animals. The kids had a delightful time!

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China Railway Museum

Looking at some options available, we decided to go to the China Railway Museum, near the city center. Our kids really loved the museum. The exhibits were really well done. They proudly showed off both the new high-speed trains as well as some of the historical trains in China.

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Qianmen Street

We then decided to wander around Qianmen Street, and picked up some snacks.

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Hot Pot Dinner

For dinner, the kids had a lot of fun with hot pot. Think of it as a Chinese version of fondue, but more soup-like.

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What a fun day!

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