Worth the Drive: Baby Panda Ready For Close-up

Worth the Drive is NBCLA's twice weekly look at nearby getaways

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If you haven't been to San Diego in a while, you now have a super-cute reason to go.

Yún Zǐ, the new baby panda at the zoo, made his media debut on Wednesday.

As cameras clicked and video rolled, Yún Zǐ trotted after his mother, climbed up trees and scooted across branches.

The media debut was a practice run for Thursday -- the first time the gates of his exhibit area will be open to members of the general public.

The little fur ball was born back in August and is the fifth cub to be born in captivity at the zoo.

Handlers say the five-month-old giant panda cub is growing and developing well and has a bit of an attitude. In a recent exam, Yún Zǐ also displayed his strong personality when he refused his exam and headed back to his den instead.

Yún Zǐ was given his name Nov. 17, more than 100 days after he was born. The other four finalists for names were.

   1. Fú Shèng, which means "blissful San Diego"
   2. Xiǎo Lóng, which means "little dragon"
   3. Xióng Wěi, which means "extraordinary bear"
   4. Yǒng Xiǎng, which means "eternally blessed"

Yun Zi’s public debut will be from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday. There is no guarantee the cub will be in the yard at that time, but the zoo’s panda team says he has been leaving his den regularly during the day.

The public will be allowed access to the special yard used by the cub and his mother for only three hours each morning during the next few weeks. The hours will expand as the pair becomes more comfortable with the public.

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