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Zookeepers at Washington DC's National Zoo, which literally shares a driveway with Jaunted's DC headquarters, have been doing their best to keep the public informed about the pair of baby lions born in late January to mother Nababiep. Medical exams of the cubs have revealed that they are "adorable" - that's an actual quote - and for the first few weeks fans from around the world could track the infants on the zoo's lion cam.
Recently, however, the lion cam feeds have gone dark in anticipation of another impending litter, this time to Nababiep's sister Shera. There's a more robust explanation of where each lioness hangs out, and how that influenced the decision to cut the feeds, here. But the short story is that - for now - the Internet has one less place with baby lions.
Whatever are people to do?
We usually save our zoo travel posts for the summer, when people are more likely to take important zoo-attending steps like opening their doors, leaving their homes, and so on. It just seems like a more reliable way to align our content with things that might interest you, our readers.
But the Staten Island Zoo has been Facebooking up a storm this week - see here and here and here - with pictures and stories about their new baby Tamandua. They've even put up a video on Instagram, which we've embedded below. Those posts seem very, very, very popular, and so who are we to argue about what is and is not seasonally-appropriate content?
Spring Travel / Spring Festivals / Nature Travel / Washington DC Travel / Events / Festival Travel / → All Tags
Despite the look of things outdoors we really are going to see the sun sooner than later, as spring is just about 30 days away. That means it is time to start planning for all things warm weather, and that includes looking forward to some seasonal festivals. We’re not saying that the National Cherry Blossom Festival is the best way to welcome the spring, but the festival certainly isn’t a bad idea.
It’s still a little too soon for the National Park Service to forecast their prediction for when things will begin to bloom, but we do know that this year’s festival will do its thing between March 20 and April 13. Obviously the blooms in and around the nation’s capital and along the Potomac will be the stars of the show, but there are also plenty of other events worth checking out.
Usually we save zoo travel posts for the spring and summer, since that's when people go to zoos, and we like to be helpful. But there are exceptions to every rule, and - wouldn't you know it - baby animals count as some of those exceptions.
The Washington DC National Zoo has in recent months been blessed with quite a few baby animals. Lots of the attention has been lavished in particular on the zoo's new baby panda and two new baby tigers. All were born around the same time and all were in the news today.
New Routes / British Airways / LHR / CTU / Animals / Zoos / Zoo Travel / Nature Travel / Chengdu Travel / China Travel / Panda Travel / → All Tags
Are these the best promotional pictures for a new flight route you’ve ever seen? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. Of course they are.
As you might know, British Airways is launching flights from Heathrow to Chengdu in China in September – the first direct route between the two cities. Chengdu is a huge business hub, which is presumably the reason behind the route launch, but it also happens to be home to the giant pandas – the most famous breeding center (which you can visit) is on the outskirts of the city, while there are a few other centers/sanctuaries scattered around Sichuan province, within a few hours of Chengdu.
Hence the pandasor panbassadors, maybe?checking in and checking out the Club World cabin.
Zoo Travel / Nature Travel / California Travel / Summer Travel / California / Los Angeles Zoo / San Francisco Travel / Los Angeles / San Francisco / → All Tags
Summer travel means zoo travel which, for the purposes of this week, means giraffe travel. We'd argue that it should also be giraffe travel for the purposes of every other week, but we're content to use what time we have together right now to urge you to go see baby giraffes in various zoos up and down California.
In case you can't - and we feel badly for you, genuinely - we've embedded some videos at the bottom for you to look at. View, and be jealous.
There are subtle ways and not-so-subtle ways to attract travelers. Some places - say, Mexico - struggle with image problems, and before they can pitch anything fun they have to rebrand themselves.. Other countries and organizations have it a lot easier. Zoos, for example, can do the equivalent of waving their arms in the air and shouting: "Hey, look over here! There are cute baby things over here!"
Our beloved San Diego Zoo knows what works, which is why they kicked off the summer travel season this morning by opening up their new Conrad Prebys Australian Outback exhibit to the public. The 3 acre exhibit is meant to model what you might see in Queensland. At the entrance is a cluster of 8 to 15-foot-tall totems depicting a koala, a platypus, a crocodile, a kangaroo, a Tasmanian devil, and a kookaburra. They call it the exhibit's "welcoming committee."
Panda Travel / Edinburgh Travel / Animals / Scotland Travel / Zoos / Zoo Travel / Nature Travel / → All Tags
Yang Guang limbers up
Maybe Edinburgh is that kinda town, because it wasn’t just Richard Branson getting frisky in Scotland last week; bumping Little Red’s arrival down the news agenda were the two pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, whose slow and steady journey to mating season has been vicariously lapped up by the British press.
Not because they’re creeps, see; but because a panda pregnancy will be a feat against all the oddsthe female is in season for just 48 hours. Also, the couple have only known each other for just over a year, so although it’s not quite celebrity speed, it’s pretty quick. Last year, they tried to breed unsuccessfully. This year, we were told when we visited last week, Tian Tian has been calling to Yang Guang with “much more urgency,” making the scientists think they might just hit the jackpot.
Tax Refund Vacations / Costa Rica Travel / LIR / Surfing / Surf Travel / Nature Travel / Hiking / Green Travel / → All Tags
Tax day is coming, and you're probably excited...but not because you look forward to sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" tripa Tax Refund Vacation.
Whether you're into eco-travel, surfing, zip lining, hiking, swimming/snorkeling/Scuba, hanging out with exotic animals (like the Coati), learning Spanish or just lazing on a sandy beach, Costa Rica can make it happen. Regardless, you're in for sun and warm temperatures.
If you're interested in the Caribbean side with all its eco-tourism or you'd like to scratch a visit to Arenal volcano off your bucket list, fly into San Jose International Airport. For trips to the Pacific side's beaches, surf spots and giant national parks, Liberia International AIrport is the best bet (and it's got a brand-spanking-new terminal).
Zoos / Zoo Travel / Fall Travel / Green Travel / Nature Travel / Washington DC Travel / Twitter / Animals / → All Tags
Elementary logic: all organizations are increasingly leveraging social media, zoos are organizations, therefore zoos are increasingly leveraging social media. What differentiates zoos from other groups, of course, is that their tweets, posts, photos, and videos are much, much cuter.
Our beloved San Diego Zoo probably sets the standard for social media completionismtheir annual Panda Week activities are to the pointbut the National Zoo in Washington, DC is not far behind. Last year they live-tweeted the artificial insemination of a giant panda and the subsequent birth of the panda baby. Both of those were neat but not particularly cute.
The zoo's most recent live-tweeted event did much better on the cuteness front: photos and descriptions of elephant baths.
It's been a while since we've written about our beloved San Diego Zoo, and even longer since we've written about it as anything but an exercise in kind of entertaining but also sort of unseemly schadenfreude. Let us remedy that with background and a video of the zoo's new baby panda making his public debut.
The toddler's name is Xiao Liwu. He first met the public last Wednesday, which is when the video below was taken. The San Diego Zoo - which is one of only four American zoos with pandas - has now had six successful panda births. That makes the park the single most successful panda breeding facility outside of China.
The holiday greetings are now starting to stream in after starting with a trickle. Up this week is the country’s National Park Service, as they’ve uploaded their own little YouTube greeting to wish you and yours a very merry holiday season.
Park employees chime in to say hello from their national parks, historic sites, and monuments, and of course there’s even a little cameo by Santa.
There’s some cheesy special effects like everyone doing their thing inside of a snow globe, but we’ve got to say good for them and happy holidays right back at you, NPS.