Zoo extends weekend hours for panda cub Bao Bao’s long-awaited public debut

The Smithsonian National Zoo said Wednesday that it will have extended hours this weekend for the public to see the formal debut of its giant panda cub, Bao Bao.

The cub will go on public view starting Saturday at 8 a.m.

The giant-panda house, which has been closed to the general public for six months, will be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday through Monday, the zoo said.

Visitors will be admitted to the house in small groups on a first-come, first-served basis, for periods of 10 to 15 minutes, to avoid overcrowding.

The zoo said it is preparing for large crowds.

The panda cub at the National Zoo is warm despite cold weather in the District. (Mike Ruane and Jacques Ledbetter/The Washington Post)

Starting Tuesday, the panda house will be open during the zoo’s normal winter hours of 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The female cub, the first to survive birth at the zoo since 2005, was born Aug. 23.

Members of the Friends of the National Zoo have been getting exclusive peeks at Bao Bao all this week.

Mike is a general assignment reporter who also covers Washington institutions and historical topics.

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