The Only Giant Panda Twins in The U.S. Are Turning 1

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Ya Lun and Xi Lun turn 1 on September 3, and nothing less than a holiday weekend packed with celebration will do for the only giant panda twins in the U.S. Festivities will include three days of special admission offers, a giant of a giant panda birthday surprise on the twins’ big day, a chance to tune in live for an advance sneak-peek at the secrets of giant panda “cake” making, and much more.
Birthday special offers: From Saturday, September 2 through Labor Day on Monday, September 4, wear black-and-white to enjoy $5 off general admission. The offer is valid in-person only at Zoo Atlanta Admissions and is not valid online. Also from Saturday, September 2 through Monday, September 4, receive 10 percent off purchases of Dippin’ Dots Pandamonium Crunch at Dippin’ Dots locations within the Zoo.
On the twins’ big day on Sunday, September 3:  Ya Lun and Xi Lun will receive birthday surprises – including ice cake creations built at the Zoo by celebrity panda pop-maker King of Pops – between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. in The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center. Well-wishers can also craft their own birthday greetings for the twins from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Born 47 minutes apart in the morning of September 3, 2016, Ya Lun and Xi Lun are the sixth and seventh offspring of Lun Lun, 20, and Yang Yang, 19. The pair, whose names together mean “Lun Lun’s elegant and happy daughters,” are ambassadors for Zoo Atlanta’s most significant long-term investment in wildlife conservation. Fewer than 1,900 giant pandas are estimated to remain the wild in China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Of these, more than 1,200 live inside nature reserves, eight of which are supported by Zoo Atlanta. Although the International Union for the Conservation of Nature downgraded the species’ status from “endangered” to “vulnerable” in 2016, giant pandas remain heavily reliant on conservation programs. Their threats include habitat fragmentation and habitat loss as a result of deforestation and other human activities.
In advance of the birthday weekend: Tune in to Zoo Atlanta Facebook at 12 p.m. EST on Thursday, August 31, for a live-broadcast look at the making of Ya Lun’s and Xi Lun’s ice cakes from behind the scenes in the Zoo’s Animal Nutrition Kitchen.
Stop by one of two Atlanta King of Pops locations to try the limited-time Panda Pop chosen by public vote via social media. King of Pops proposed three flavors inspired by the twins – Black-and-White Pop, Double-Layered Vanilla and Cookie Pop, and Chocolate Sea Salt Panda Edition – and more than 1,500 panda fans cast their votes the week of August 11. The winner, Black-and-White Pop, is available while supplies last at King of Pops’ cart at Ponce City Market Sheds near the Beltine entrance and their Inman Park Walk-up Window.
When it comes to their own birthday treats, Ya Lun and Xi Lun may explore or ignore the contents of their ice cakes, as giant pandas are not known to be adventurous eaters. Although Ya Lun and Xi Lun have begun nibbling at many of the adult giant pandas’ foods, especially bamboo, they will continue to nurse for several months.
Visit the birthday pair and their parents in the Zoo’s Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center, or tune in to PandaCam hosted by Animal Planet L!VE at
Admission and concession offers are valid only from September 2 through September 4, 2017, and are not valid with any other discount or promotion. Offers are not valid online.