By: Kwandao Jitpana
The new attraction, housed in the panda-observation area, was fully ready to welcome visitors, with each session accommodating 50 people, Snow Dome project manager Pongsit Sittiwang said.
Interest among the public was so great that tickets - priced at Bt150 (SGD6.40) for adults and Bt100 for children - for the first session (9.45am-10.20am) until the 12th session (5.25pm-6pm) were sold out in the morning.
An eight-year-old visitor, Monsikan Pleumjitjaijongdee, said she lived in Bangkok with her parents and elder brother but they had spent this weekend in Chiang Mai.
"I've seen a snow dome before in Bangkok's Dream World, but I like this one better because they have panda dolls and doughnut skis for the visitors to play on," she said, adding that the 20-minute period was right because it would be too cold if they stayed longer. She said she wanted to visit again later.
An 18-year-old Australian tourist, Kevin Glen, said that although his country also had snow, it was fun to be exposed to it here. He said the dome was beautifully decorated and the ticket price was not expensive as the dome also provided thick jackets and shoes for visitors.
Meanwhile, Chinese expert Hu Haiping and Thai researchers had yesterday separated the 52-day-old panda cub from its mother Lin Hui for a 20-minute check-up in the morning.
Panda-section chief Prasertsak Boontrakulpoonthavee said the cub was healthy, 44 centimetres long and weighed 2.9 kilograms. He said the weight should increase 100 grams a day from now on. Showing good physical response in general, the ball of fur can see with both eyes. The left eye's visibility is 2,5 centimetres and the right eye's 1cm. He explained that pandas could see for only a short distance and mainly depended on their sense of smell.
Hu said the check-up would from now on include a thorough physical examination, for as the fur grew thick, the veterinarian had to feel if the cub had any wound. She said the cub's weight was normal. She also explained that in China they checked panda cubs during the first month and on the 100th day but gave no injections for the first year.
The zoo plans a birthday party on August 6 for the cub's father, Chuang Chuang. Candles will be blown out, and the cub, expected to weigh 4kg by then, will be displayed twice a day for three days.