City Desk

We Have Hit Peak Panda, and It Costs $6,000

Bao Bao lucratively sleeping with her mother, Mei Xiang, at her public debut in January

Bao Bao the baby panda may sleep all day, but panda-related mania never rests. There was the woman who flew from Ohio to see Bao Bao the moment she made her public debut, the press conference to reveal the results of a panda paternity test, and—lest we forget!—the time the zoo moved Rusty the Red Panda to Virginia so he could mate in quiet because Bao Bao was attracting too many noisy visitors.

The latest panda insanity? Bao Bao is going deluxe.

The National Zoo sent out an email to its Friends of the National Zoo members today advertising a $6,000 VIP Bao Bao Tour package. The tickets are part of its ZooFari fundraising event on May 15. From the email, here's what you get for six stacks:

  • A private behind-the-scenes tour to meet giant panda cub, Bao Bao
  • 10 VIP ZooFari tickets
  • 5 valet parking passes
  • Admission to the pre-ZooFari cocktail reception (5:30 to 6:30 p.m.)
  • Access to the Premier Pavilion
  • Access to the LivingSocial Lion Lounge.

For $4,000, panda fans can get the Animal Tour package, which includes everything that the pricier package has, minus the individual panda tour.

Non-VIP tickets to the event cost $175 for Friends of the National Zoo members and $200 for everyone else. The event will feature more than 100 area restaurants and lots of wine.

Any takers? Let me know at

Photo by Perry Stein

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