This is not a traditional zoo like most people think of them. But it is worth going to especially with small kids. I get the impression that many of the animals are rescue animals and for that reason they are loved and special. It is obvious walking around the place that this is a labor of love for the "Friends of the Zoo" who run it. Admission is free and the exhibits and landscaping is clean and well cared for. Which is hard in a rainforest as things grown fast. They have a good smattering of interesting animals to look at the monkeys are hilarious to watch at feeding time. There are some orphaned donkeys (which used to rome free on the other side of the island). The Large blue Parrott Zoey talkes and laughs, and if you stand in front of her and bouce up and down she will do the same to mimic you-fun for kids! There are also peacocks all over the place and they are beautiful. The long time star of the zoo Namaste the white tiger died, he would have been 16 this year and his pen sits empty. I was lucky enought to see him a few years ago and he was beautiful, stately so the loss of him is sorely felt. But they have a nice pictorial exhibit as you walk in and you can read about this wonderful animal.
The vegetation is great to look at as it is a real rainforest. Many exotic plants interspersed throughout. Easy to walk.
Oh and there is a playground and picnic area if you wanted to stop and eat lunch while the kids play. The playground all by itself is worth the trip.
It is close to Hilo as you travel out of town toward the volcano park. The zoo closes at 4pm (opens at 9am). There is a petting zoo every Saturday 130-230 where you can get up close and personal with a lama and multiple other animals.
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