Louisville Zoo’s Popular Red Panda Gets New Digs for His Birthday

Sunny D’s new space offers enhanced explorations, relaxation and future housing for multiple red pandas

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 23, 2024) – Today, the Louisville Zoo announced that one of their most beloved animals — Sundara (Sunny D), the red panda — is now back on exhibit in a totally new space, just in time for his May 23rd birthday.

Sunny D’s new location makes him exhibit neighbors with the Zoo’s trio of Linnaeus’s two-toed sloths — Fern, Sunni and Sebastian— and provides more room for the 2-year-old panda to explore and relax. His new surroundings boast two large outdoor areas as well as offering the potential to house multiple red pandas in the future.

Dan Maloney, director of the Louisville Zoo emphasized the habitat’s role in supporting the broader conservation efforts of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan.

“With this new habitat, the Louisville Zoo continues its commitment to the care and conservation of endangered species like the red panda by not only providing a nurturing environment for Sunny D, but also the opportunity for potential offspring.”

Red pandas love to climb, and Sunny D’s new abode is outfitted with a network of climbing elements that span the length of the habitat. This structure is specially designed from sizeable pieces of an Osage orange tree that succumbed to a storm at Joe Creason Park and was donated to the Zoo by Metro Parks. Additional hollow trees offer cozy spots for Sunny D’s other favorite pastime, napping.

Lush bamboo plants enrich his new home, offering diverse feeding opportunities. The dwelling is also equipped with large fans and shaded areas to help Sunny D stay cool, along with a comfortable indoor bedroom.

In addition to providing a superior living space for Sunny D, the Zoo plans to introduce an immersive behind-the-scenes experience with red pandas. This will include naturalistic log training stations for VIP encounters and daily keeper chats for guests. The behind-the-scenes area is fully ADA-compliant, ensuring accessibility for all visitors.

Zoo Hours

The Zoo is open daily year-round. Spring/summer hours are 10 a.m. ─ 5 p.m. (stay until 6 p.m.). The Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Zoo will close early on Friday, June 7, enter 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (exit by 3 p.m.). Visit louisvillezoo.org for more info.


The Louisville Zoo, the State Zoo of Kentucky, is the top, non-profit, paid attraction in the state. The Zoo is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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