There's no denying that pandas are adorable creatures. Pandas are also endangered, so each time a panda is born it's a celebration. If you're a little obsessed with pandas then you need to add Chengdu in China to your travel destinations and the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to your bucket list. Here you not only get to see over 30 pandas being adorable, you also have the opportunity to hold a baby panda.
The experience doesn't come cheap. Tickets to the centre aren't very much; these will get you access to all the panda enclosures where you'll see pandas of all different ages. Most of the older pandas just sit around eating, but the younger pandas are very boisterous. It's easy to fill up a memory card just watching them play. Visiting the Research Base is a great experience in itself, but the ultimate experience is holding a giant panda.
To take part in the experience you need to pay a 'donation'. The minimum amount is usually a couple of hundred dollars. Prices do change and they don't display them on the website, so often you'll just have to wait and check at the park to find out prices.
You can usually choose between having your photo taken with a baby, adolescent, or adult pandas. If you want to be able to cuddle the panda you're best going for the baby; the others can be quite a bit heavier. I have never met anyone who has been disappointed with the experience. It's also great the the money raised goes towards helping the breeding efforts of the Research Base.
It's possible to see pandas in zoos all over the world, but it doesn't quite compare to seeing so many pandas at the Chengdu Research Base. Holding a giant panda really is a worthwhile activity to add to your bucket list.