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“Well worth a visit”

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Pinnawala
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed 25 June 2014

We did this as part of our Cultural Kandy Tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although the cost to get in was part of our package I did notice that it cost 3 times more for foreigners to visit than it does for locals. You can purchase a voucher to feed a baby elephant and an adult (350 and 250 rupees respectively). We did this as its not every day you get to do this and its not expensive. The baby elephant demolished the bottle my wife fed it in 3 seconds so be quick with your camera!! We got to touch them and watch them go to the riverside to play (whilst we had lunch). You can pay for an elephant ride and we did this - what an experience!! It cost $30 for both of us and the ride lasted 30 mins (part of which is in the river) Great photo opportunity and memories to last forever. The whole time we spent there was well worth it and I would recommend it to anyone, especially the elephant ride - GIVE IT A GO :-)

2  Thank BC_and_LR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 June 2014

pinnawala elephant orphanage is the best way to see the elephants.there have over 1000 elephants. orphanage is very well

3  Thank steffan1991
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2014

Prior to my visit to Sri Lanka I read the reviews about the elephants and they were split for and against. Some implored me not to go.

As part of our day trip the tour representative provided details of how the orphanage was established and how it works.

It took several hours of driving the interesting narrow roads of Sri Lanka. Appears if you honk your horn before you overtake its ok if a bus is coming the other way.

I digress. The elephants are in a reserve and are taken the river along a path. Over time commercial businesses have established and offer sometimes forcefully their wares. Its fine just to decline.

The sight of the elephants in the water was amazing. It's free to take photos but be warned. Be very warned. If anyone offers to take your photo with an elephant be prepared to pay. They have your camera and then ask for a "donation" this is never mentioned before the offer.

We spent an hour looking at these graceful animals. They love the water. They then are lead back up the path to their land area. The young calves are fed with milk and they can drink this down without much effort. There hide is tough and their hairs like steel wool. Their ears are warm as this is where they regulate heat.

I would go again, I loved it, I can see why some people may feel that it is not right for the animals to be in captivity, however in my opinion I was satisfied with what I saw.

Enjoy the experience.

Thank tigger2594
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2014

One should definately plan a visit to this amazing place! And not only to be able to see the elephants and their cubs! By paying the entrance fee you donate to the Orphanage, which does not only show the elephants, but as well takes care of the injured ones and breed the cubs from whole Sri Lanka. Don't forget to feed the milk to the cubs and fruits to an adorable-always-hungry-elephant-lady! :) wait some more time to see the bathing time with your own eyes - you can either walk with the elephants or come a bit earlier and get the best place in the nearby restaurant. You will be granted with bathing, feeding, milk-feeding and just enjoying the elephants!

Thank Alexa C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2014

The orphanage is very well run and it's your opportunity to interact with elephants in an up close, personal way. Yes, some are controlled by a chain around one of their legs, safety for them and the patrons. Yes, this is more petting zoo than safari, but that is precisely its advantage.

I did not see any of the animals mistreated. Quite the contrary, the staff seemed very affectionate.

And yes, it costs to get in and it's encouraged to tip when you get to do something special like feed them or milk then, but it is very inexpensive and the funds go to the operation of the orphanage.

No one was ripping me off. That's ridiculous. Some of the postings here are simply hysterical and read like they're written by a bunch of cheapskates.

It's a great pace to take kids.

If you love elephants like I do and truly care for their well-being, you will have a great experience at Pinnawalla.

I also had the best guide in Sri Lanka, Dhammika Perera, who navigated all entrance fees and helped guide me on appropriate tips.

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

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