WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- It's here! The day has arrived for panda lovers across the country.

People came near and far to see Bei Bei for his public debut at the National Zoo.

"I said I have to come down to see the pandas because I love pandas," Luchia Miles said.

They stood in line before the gates opened.

"I got here at 4 a.m.," Barbara Baron said.

Nicole traveled 3000 miles to meet Bei Bei.

"Yep, I came from LA," Nicole said. "It's my second time, I came for Bao Bao."

The lines wrapped around the zoo, crowded the panda house, but the mileage and the waiting was worth it.

"It's better than I could've ever imagined it. The thrill of it has been so exciting," Alexa Knoell said.

You might call it a love affair with these bears.

"My sister bought these for us because our relationship resembles a panda we eat and sleep a lot," Knoell said.

"I'm in love," Miles said. "I'm going to bake some panda cupcakes." 

MOREWhat you need to know before visiting panda cub Bei Bei

When Bei Bei started to climb out of his box and onto the rock bed --- the 'oohs' and 'ahhs' got louder.

Five-month-old Bei Bei is still nursing and is being kept in the Panda House until now. He will be free to venture outside when it's warmer in the next few months."  

For thousands Saturday, this was their first glimpse of Bei Bei in person and for some it's their first panda sighting ever, even for one D.C. native.

"I haven't. I usually run through the zoo and haven't stopped to look," Laura Scaduto said.

4500 people came to see Bao's Bao's debut. The zoo is still adding the numbers for Bei's Bei's first day.

The Panda House is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. There are only 1,800 pandas left in the wild which makes each birth rare and significant.

If you're planning to visit, you'll want to enter the Asia Trail entrance across from the Visitor Center.

PHOTOSGiant Panda Cub Bei Bei

Like this story? Like us on Facebook.


Bei Bei to make first public debut Saturday

What you need to know before visiting panda cub Bei Bei

Panda pals go on 'InstaMeet' to see Bei Bei early

Bei Bei makes his media debut!

Bei Bei Choo! Cub sneezes on panda cam