You’re not going to get a giant panda experience in the UK. The only giant pandas here are at Edinburgh Zoo, and there’s a waiting list just to look at them. To touch one, feed one, or cuddle one, you’ll have to go to China, and even then you’d probably have to be a special panda scientist or something.
So you’ve got two options if you love these furry rogues:
- you could adopt a giant panda – you can see our adoption page here
- Or you could buy a red panda experience and get to stroke one in real life – and I’d vote for the red panda experience every time.
What are red pandas?
These aren’t the giant black and white ones. They’re like a mixture of a raccoon, a fox and a teddy bear. They’re really cute, docile and friendly. If you leave a red panda to it, he’ll sit up in a tree and not come down, but if you’ve got some food they’ll follow you round like you’re their mum or dad.
So what red panda experiences can I buy right now?
Take a look here, this is everything available in the UK at the moment:
Please note that this experience only runs for part of the year. If we haven’t featured it here then it’s not available anywhere in the UK, but if it’s featured here, then you’re in luck. . If this is the case and there are no red panda experiences listed, adopting a red panda may be a reasonable substitute. Alternatively, take a look at the other animal feeding experiences.
Which zoos are best for it?
There are a few, but our favourite is the Paradise animal park in Hertfordshire. You can’t get the experiences any cheaper if you book direct, and you’d need to know dates, so it makes sense to buy the experience through an experience company like buyagift.com.
Review of the red panda experience
We were lucky enough to get a 2 for 1 deal, so snap one up if you see it. It’s always more fun if there are two of you! On the experience you don’t get to cuddle them, but you do get to spend a nice half hour feeding them by hand and learning all about them.
First up, you collect their food from the food store. Like giant pandas, red pandas absolutely love bamboo, so you’ll be carrying branches of the stuff, as well as other tasty treats like grapes and apple.
Then, it’s time to clamber into the red panda enclosure and meet the furry monsters – and boy were the other people in the zoo jealous of us when they saw what we were doing! Watch out for the fun feeling of being an exhibit too, with all the envious people watching as you get close up to the pandas.
It’s a nice enclosure in the zoo in Hertfordshire.
There are two pandas at this park, and they see you coming with the food. They clambered out of their nesting box and onto the platform where you can get really close to them.
One of the red pandas has a bad back and he wasn’t as agile as the others, but that just made him even more adorable. This is a picture of us feeding them grapes while the helpful assistant is telling us all about them.
We were in the enclosure for about 20 minutes. They nibbled from our hands until they’d scoffed all the grapes, and then they climbed about on their climbing frame while we rustled bamboo and tried to entice them down.
It’s a shame we didn’t get to stroke them properly. I snook in a little tickle, but they’re not pets so you shouldn’t give them cuddles or anything. And besides, they might bite your finger!
What happens afterwards?
After you’ve finished your experience, you can have a nice walk around the animal park and look at all the other animals – it’s a good park too, with all sorts of animals, and don’t forget this park also does feed a lion experiences, lemur experience days and the stupendously bizarre tickle a tapir experience.
If you’ve bought this experience for yourself or someone else, come back and leave a review to tell everyone about the panda-related goodness.
And here’s a video of an experience we had recently. Those furry little guys are just amazing!