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I'm still not sure about this place.
I should preface this tip by saying that I love Asia and just about everything about it. It is the continent I have travelled most extensively in and, whilst I hope to visit other continents, I remain drawn here. I should also say that I do not particularly like zoos as I am inherently against the idea of wild animals being caged, often in conditions that are far less than their requirements. To me, the concept of a wild creature pacing a cage with no means of living any sort of natural life, is completely repugnant.
I remember a visit to a zoo in Darjeeling (India) many years ago which actually left me quite traumatized. Yes, I have been to London Zoo which is apparently one of the better examples worldwide but I am still unsure. I know that many international zoos run very important breeding programmes, maintaining species that find it no longer viable to exist in the modern world and they do a wonderful job. I'm still not sure.
Anyway, I had heard of the Zoo in Colombo and it was in walking distance from where I was staying in Wellewatta. OK, I say walking distance although this is my walking distance and I do like to walk a fair bit evn in the blazing heat of a Sri Lankan midday. The traveller may want to consider alternative options.
Whe i eventually arrived at the place (there is no signage, I was using a map) the sign for admission price was extremely explicit. I have always known that there was a "locals price" and a "tourist price" which is not a problem at all but the discrepancy here was very marked, somewhere in the order of five times.
The lovely lady at the ticket5 booth took my very inflated tourist rupee and so I entered. I have to say here that signage is very good and if you follow the numbered signs, you will not miss anything. Basically, start by going to your left and just keep looking for waymarks, you'll be OK. They number up to 60, I believe.
I began my tour in the aqaurium which was interesting although rather busy. Being a Sunday afternoon, the place was very full. I suggest the traveller visits (if he / she wishes to) on a weekday.
I am not going to go into every beast I saw here as I have constructed a couple of travelogues on this page to cover it but suffice it to say that I still do not like zoos. In fairness, there were many signs about the place indicating that the Government is expending a lot of money to improve and even expand the place. My guidebook mentioned that this zoo had been started by a foreigner who wanted to house his animals when his circus was no longer financially successful. Seemed like nothing had changed much.
Frankly, the image of this place that I shall carry with me is one of two beautiful snow leopards doing a sort of choreographed pas de deux in a tiny, bare cage. I am so glad I got to see these most beautiful and hugely endangered beasts as I had never seen them before and possibly never will again but this was obviously a result of too close confinement in poor conditions. The poor animals were obviously out of their minds. There were many more examples and please look at my travelogues for more details.
I spent a few hours there and saw some wonderful animals that I have little chance of seeing in the wild but I left feeling terribly sad somehow and that is not a normal emotion for me in this most wonderful country. I shall leave it up to the reader to consider this tip and whether or not they want to visit. I have deliberately left out about half of what I could tell you and none of it is complimentary. If I return here, as I dearly hope to do, his Zoo will not be on my list of things to do.
If you do wish to visit, I have included the relevant details here. I did see people with strollers and there appeared to be some ramps so it may be accessible to a great degree. I would suggest that not all of it will be but by Sri Lankan standards it is certainly making a very commendable effort. I really do not want to be negative but I think that these are not the best conditions to keep what s obviously a wonderful colection of animals in.
It has been several yrs since I last went to the Zoo, but it seemed better kept, more lush and was certainly well patronized. The restaurant facility had a pretty good rice selection which was tasty, but the sandwiches were sadly lacking (stale bread and not much inside). Nice for a relax and to cool off though, and it was clean; run by Ceylon Hotels Corp.
- Family Travel
Make sure you visit the Dehiwala Zooalogical Gardens. You may have to set aside a day for the Zoo. The zoo is home to many animals as seen in many countries. What is unique is the Elephant Dance which takes place at approx 3.30 p.m. It is amazing to see how agile these giants are. The do a performance for about 45 min to an hour, which must not be missed.
It is also a very relaxing walk and visiting the Zoo supports the well being of the animals housed therein.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
The Elephant Orphanage.
One of the most unique places to visit is the Elephant Orphanage, If you visit Sri Lanka it is a must, that you have this experience. Pinnawela orphanage is situated northwest of the town Kegalla, halfways between the present capital Colombo and the ancient royal residence Kandy in the hills of central Sri Lanka. It was established 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department. This 24 acres large elephant orphanage is a also breeding pace for elephants, twenty elephants were born since 1984, and it has the greatest herd of elephants in captivity in the world. Currently you will find over 75 elephants in the orphanage.
The orphanage was primarily designed to afford care and protection to the many baby elephants found in the jungle without their mothers. In most of these cases the mother had either died or had been killed. In some instances the baby had fallen into a pit and in others the mother had fallen in and died. Initially this orphanage was at the Wilpattu National Park, then shifted to the tourist complex at Bentota and then to the Dehiwala Zoo.
From the Dehiwala Zoo it was shifted 1975 to Pinnawela. At the time it was shifted the orphanage had five baby elephants which formed its nucleus. It was hoped that this facility would attract both local and foreign visitors, the income from which would help to maintain the orphanage.
There are only a few elephant orphanages in the world. Pinnawela has now become one of the bigger orphanages and is quite well known worldwide.
- Family Travel
- National/State Park
Dehiwala Zoological garden build by the colonials in his British era, it is nearly 10 km south of Colombo city, the zoo has a extensive compilation of deference zoological items from all over the world.
The aquarium displaying nice assortments of marine life is the merely one of its kind in Asia.
The emphasize is the elephant show in the sunset where the awkward beasts execute a variety of behavior for the large audience in the Zoological park.
Also for this bear is it too hot.
This Zoo is in Dehiwala (abt. 10 km from the centre) and is one of the biggest and most beautiful Zoos in Asia. It has impressive collection of birds, reptiles and other animals (more than 2000 animals).
We had really enjoyed the visit at the Zoo.
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