A year in the adorable life of Bao Bao

Related: Year of the panda, and 154 other zoo babies

The National Zoo’s giant panda cub is celebrating her first birthday. Here's a look at some of the most memorable moments since her birth on Aug. 23, 2013. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)

Bao Bao the panda turns 1 year old on Saturday. And what a year it’s been! We look back at some of the milestones in the beloved cub’s first year of life at the National Zoo.

August 23, 2013: Washington has a new panda cub!


The panda cub at two days old. (National Zoo via Getty Images)

Two weeks: It’s a girl! The still-unnamed cub’s gender is revealed by a DNA test.


The giant panda cub during her first full veterinary exam. (Courtney Janney/National Zoo)

Six to eight weeks: The government shut down. Panda fans were bereft. For two weeks, the zoo was shuttered, and with it, the panda cam went dark. The cub grew from a 3-pound, pink, rodent-like creature to a 5-pound, black-and-white, cuddly-looking panda out of the public’s watchful gaze.


Zoo staff handle the panda cub during the shutdown. The animals were cared for, but the zoo’s 15 camera systems — which require federal resources, primarily staff, to operate — were deemed nonessential during the impasse. (Bill Clements/National Zoo)

Almost three months: The cub takes her first steps – caught, adorably, on camera.


Two National Zoo employees give the giant panda cub a checkup in mid-November, around the time she took her first steps. (Connor Padraic Mallon/National Zoo)

Three months: Introducing… Bao Bao. After more than 123,000 votes cast by members of the public, the cub was officially named. Disney fans’ choice of “Mulan,” one of five official options, lost out.

Five months: Bao Bao meets the adoring public for the first time. The National Zoo expected 10,000 visitors to the panda house during the three-day weekend when Bao Bao made her debut.


Bao Bao almost seemed bored at times on the first day members of the general public got a view of the most recent panda born at the National Zoo. She licked at a piece of bamboo and walked a bit and then promptly went back to sleep for much of the morning. She often slept 20 hours a day at that point. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

Seven months: Bao Bao goes outside for the first time.


Bao Bao ventured outdoors with her mom, Mei Xiang, for the first time on April 1 at the zoo. The zoo said Bao Bao tried out her climbing skills on one of the smaller trees and sat on the grass with a piece of bamboo. (AP Photo/Smithsonian National Zoo)
Bao Bao, Washington D.C.'s beloved baby panda, celebrates her first birthday with a Zhuazhou (dra-JO) ceremony, a Chinese tradition for a 1-year-old child. (Ben Dorger/The Washington Post)
Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.
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