Monday, October 1, 2012

Birthday Wishes

This week was Drew's birthday and I wanted it to be special.

So I gave him some books because you can never have too many books.

And this fun card that I bought in Portland in August when I was in the States. I framed it when I got back to Australia.
I'd climb anything with you.

Both of those gifts were much appreciated, as was the banana bread with cream cheese frosting that I made. FYI - cream cheese in Australia is NOT the same. It smells slightly off and the consistency is different. But Drew couldn't tell the difference.

I saved the best gift til last though. A trip to the zoo to hand feed the red pandas. Drew has been a fan of red pandas ever since we discovered Zooborns, a website devoted to pictures of zoo babies.

This is Eilish, she's the only female at the National Zoo.
We arrived at the zoo at 8:15am and were led to the red panda enclosure by Zookeeper Brendan. He told us a bit about the red pandas, including a warning that they usually nap during the day so we might only see them sleeping high up in the trees. Luckily, the two red pandas were awake and curious about the new visitors.
Eilish, the zoo's female red panda, was very keen on the fruit the zookeeper brought her, especially the grapes. We had a great time feeding her and petting her. Her son, Makalu, was a bit more timid and stayed up in the trees while we were there. He did clumsily scamper down close enough so we could see him though.

This is Eilish's son, Makalu. He was born in December 2011.

 (Video embedded above. If you can't see the video, click here.)

After 30 minutes of feeding and petting, it was time to say goodbye. Mealtime wasn't over though, as Makalu and Eilish scurried up into the trees to nibble on some fresh bamboo.

Included in our adventure was a day pass to the zoo, so we came back at 10am when it opened for visitors. When we walked by the red panda enclosure this time, the two were waaayyyy up in the trees, sleeping soundly.

It was a great experience with the bonus that we were able to contribute to the conservation of an endangered animal. Red pandas are endangered in the wild and the National Zoo is part of a breeding program to ensure that these incredibly cute creatures stick around for a long time to come.


  1. Happy Birthday Drew! What an amazing experience for both of you. I love the card you framed.

  2. This is so amazing! What an incredible birthday present. I miss you two so much!

  3.! seriously. happy b-day drew- you get the best gifts. = )

  4. How fun ... What a memorable birthday

  5. That sounds like the best b-day gift ever. And thank you for introducing me to --- I love it!


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