Feeding a red panda is fluffytastic

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.

This week’s top seller

This is the only red panda experience available at the moment through the big experience providers. It’s a great deal, and you can choose between Red Pandas, lemurs, tortoises and other animals’.

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.

us smiling and feeding the red pandas
Guess who took up most of the panda-time!

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!

12 thoughts on “Feeding a red panda is fluffytastic

  • September 1, 2016 at

    I did this experience at Paradise Wildlife Park in August 2016 and loved it! However it no longer appears on their website so I guess they’ve stopped doing it 🙁

  • November 22, 2015 at

    Hi, is this offer still on and does it run throughout the winter months?

    • November 22, 2015 at

      Hi Ben,
      Yep, it’s available through Red Letter Days, and they say:
      “Seven days a week throughout the year, excluding only Christmas Day when the park is closed. This experience MUST be booked and taken by the expiry date shown on the voucher.”
      Usually you get 10-12 months to take the experience in. Take a look at all the info here:

      • November 23, 2015 at

        great, thanks for the quick response. So if i go through this site do i get a code to book for the next 12 months? not quite sure how it works

  • September 22, 2015 at

    We did the shadow a keeper day at Paradise Park and it was all great but by far the best part was feeding the Red Pandas. All the staff are very helpful. There were 4 Red Pandas in the enclosure but 2 are due to leave soon

    • September 25, 2015 at

      That’s where we did it too, but for some reason they’ve stopped running red panda experiences there. We’re keeping an eye out for when they start again cos we had a great time.

    • January 4, 2013 at

      Hey Graham,
      Well that’s a matter of opinion, (and of course where you live), but we’ve got a soft spot for the Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire. It’s a nice size, the staff are really friendly and the sun’s always been shining every time we’ve been. Although we can’t guarentee the last one!

  • November 4, 2012 at

    Luv these pandas. They’re like ginger teddy bears with smily faces

    • November 4, 2012 at

      Yep, you’ve got a good point there Anonymous. I think here at Best Experiences, red pandas are in our top three animal experiences. What are the other two? Well that’d be telling!

  • January 13, 2012 at

    I am a 57 year old “child” and I have been on a meet the Red Pandas experience at Paradise animal Park. It was THE BEST hour ever. I prepared the food and then fed them by hand. I recommend that you do the morning feed because they are hungry and they come out. It was fantastic !!!

    • January 14, 2012 at

      Thanks for that tip Sue, I’m sure it’ll help our other panda-lovers when they are arranging their visits!!
      Glad you enjoyed the day – it’s a brilliant experience.

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