A group of pandas at the San Diego Zoo got a surprise Saturday morning when over 16 tons of artificial snow were blown into their den to keep the animals stimulated. A zoo video shows 3-year-old Xiao Liwu sliding in the slush and playing with his new toy, a jungle ball.

Pandas Get A Surprise Snow Day Fake snow was pumped into the panda pen at the San Diego Zoo to stimulate natural behaviors. Photo: Reuters/San Diego Zoo

A representative for the San Diego Zoo told Reuters snow is important for the pandas as it keeps them "stimulated and active" in a different environment and allows them "to show their natural behaviors."

The pandas are on loan to the zoo from China. The zoo is collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in studies of panda behavior, ecology and genetics in an effort to protect the species.