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“A Separate Tourist Admission?!?”

National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka
Ranked #40 of 145 things to do in Colombo
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Attraction details
Owner description: This zoo features animals from across Asia, as well as a nightly elephant circus.
Level Contributor
62 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“A Separate Tourist Admission?!?”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 December 2013 via mobile

My family (2 adults one toddler) went to the Zoo upon recommendations from our hotel staff. The first surprise was the extremely big difference in admission for tourists and locals. 2500 rupees per foreigner vs 700 for locals - outrageous! Even zoos in the US are not that expensive. Our tuk-tuk driver told us to put our camera away, as the zoo will charge an additional fee if they catch you taking photos. Again, we had never heard of this before.

Unfortunately, many of the enclosures were not suitable for the animals - concrete floors, rusted cages, almost no greenery.

While there was quite a variety of animals, I wouldn't recommend going.

3 Thank Lexo467
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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433 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
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English first
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Dehiwala Zoo”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 November 2013

worth to visit the location. Very close to Colombo - 08 KM from city center.just out of Colombo.Rare collection of animals,birds, fish,snakes etc etc. Many locals visit the place on weekends & school vacations in Sri Lanka. Hencs recommended to visit on week days.
It is a full day trip.
Value for money specially for kids & teens.

Visited December 2012
2 Thank Lalith m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Dehiwala Zoo: A great place for the kids to enjoy”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 November 2013

It was a bit crowded with a lot of children and their guardians...but they all seem to be enjoying the place and activities took place. If you re planning to stay about 3-4 hours, then you can time your stay in such a way so you can enjoy Bird show (2pm), Seal show (4pm) and the Elephant show (4.30pm) in one go. My 2 1/2 yr old baby really enjoyed she skills shown by the seal "Chakku" and the elephant dance with bells tied to their legs.
There is a well maintained, class restaurant near the elephant theater 1 which will serve you quality food for a reasonable price (Of course a little expensive compared to small food corners, but can enjoy a snack in a comfortable setting). Apart from that there are much cheaper food outlets within the premises and your child will definitely enjoy a tasty ice cream.
It has a good collection of animals, birds, fish and reptiles...many are in spacious cages..but some animals are kept a little unethically in low spaced cages, which I thought was something to improve in future.

Visited November 2013
7 Thank Neranga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
66 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“National Asset in Need of Innovation”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 November 2013

The Dehiwala Zoo (or "The Zoo") as Sri Lankans have fondly known it is an attraction for school children and the common man alike. The in-betweens are families with little children as the elephant circus is a star attraction.

This zoo has survived the decades through the difficult times in the nation and is in need of innovation and a passionate infusion of expertise and collaboration. The facilities, animal pens, holding areas still remain the same ones we remember from childhood! The culture of managing such a live animal facility appears to lack the spirit of innovation one sees in zoos in developed countries.

The animals fail to impress you with a good physical condition. Perhaps funding is an issue. Most animals of the wild are well represented here. The habitat design for the unique animal types could improve. The zoo keepers could benefit from better training and an incentive program. Old-fashioned animal handling skills could be replaced by innovative methods gleaned from the sciences of the behavior and psychology of animals. Better equipment and grooming facilities would perhaps help uplift animal condition and reduce levels of stress.

This is a zoo with much potential. If facilities are modernized and better comforts provided to both animals and visitors alike, this would become a must-see attraction for any visitor to this beautiful island!

Visited February 2013
3 Thank Vonfidel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
59 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Colombo zoo with 3 kids”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 October 2013 via mobile

It was hot, humid and overcrowded. Went there during Eid. It was not the best experience. We rushed though and skipped some displays.

It is expensive for the state the zoo is in. I have to say they have a good collection of animals, some that we had never seen before.

It is well organized. If You just follow the numbers, you will see all the animals.

Some animals are in a very poor state or very small enclosures.

It was an ok visit. Would not do it again.

1 Thank Elyafi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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