The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, situated in the north of Chengdu, provides an excellent opportunity to get as close as possible to China's "ambassador" animal. The base is committed to preserving this endangered species and its natural habitat and is also home to some less endangered species, such as the smaller red panda.
Within the base there is a museum, breeding area and research centre, where if lucky you can see a baby giant panda, depending on the time of year.
The best time to go is between 8 and 10 am, as this is their feeding and playtime, when you can watch them make their way clumsily around their playground. The rest of their day is spent sleeping.
There is also an interesting short film, giving a behind-the-scenes insight into the breeding programme taking place in the centre, showing at the small cinema and is worth a look.