Panda cub plays on trees
Jessie Cohen  /  AP
Tai Shan climbs on fallen trees at the National Zoo in Washington as his mother Mei Xiang looks on.
updated 12/22/2005 6:05:39 PM ET 2005-12-22T23:05:39

At the tender age of five months, the National Zoo's panda cub on Thursday ventured into the outside world for the first time.

With his mom looking on, Tai Shan took his first steps outside his indoor habitat, where he walked along the side fences and the back wall, then summoned up the courage to go to the center of the yard, where mother Mei Xiang was munching bamboo.

Tai Shan eventually spent two hours in the morning chill, climbing on some fallen tree limbs and following his mother around.

All the while, his dad, Tian Tian, was fast asleep in the outside exhibit next door, the zoo said in a statement.

The only folks who got to see any of this work for the zoo because the outdoor viewing area was closed to the public. Zoo officials said they want the cub to get used to the outdoors.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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