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“Happy visit” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Colombo-Kandy Road | 90km from Colombo, Pinnawala, Sri Lanka
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Ranked #1 of 1 Attractions in Pinnawala
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Zoos & Aquariums
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Bali, Indonesia
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Happy visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

I'm torn. What I loved about it is also something that concerns me: you get really close to the elephants. It's hard to tell how the critters feel about it when, through no choice of their own, caretakers take bribes to let you touch them for a photograph. I could tell the 3-legged elephant (injured by a landmine during the civil war) did not like being touched, and yet hundreds of tourists daily are pestering the poor thing. It does seem to me that the caretakers are otherwise respectful of the elephants and know them well. I especially enjoyed talking to the man who cares for the two babies. Feeding time with the big elephants is another sight to see, as it's not often you see such large beings breaking trees for a meal. When you leave, visit the elephant dung paper factory. Proceeds go in part to support the orphanage.

Visited December 2012
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Elephant trip”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

Part of a long day trip out this orphanage was worth the visit, in that we had not seen an elephant orphanage before. Very much for tourists not so sure if all the elephants are having fun ! However if some of the money spent by the tourists is helping to provide a better lot for these beautiful animals then good. There were a lot of us buying elephant dung products, there is a lot of it. An easy site to walk around, with a steepish hill down to the bathing area. All well organised with a lot of people looking to make you spend money

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Mixed emotions - amazing animals in bad conditions”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

Similar to a review I did for an Elephant park in Thailand, I have mixed emotions for places like this. Clearly it is designed for tourism, and conservationism is about 404th on the list of their priorities. The fees are high, and there are unashamedly two prices - local and foreigner. The elephants don't sing or make any noises, that was probably the most troubling thing for me. There is only one tusker there now too, which is also a shame.
Classic catch-22 here - you still have to go, because quite plainly to stand in amongst a herd of these amazing creatures is a true once in a lifetime experience. Just do it with your eyes open?

Visited January 2013
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great Adventure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

this is a really good place !!!! We spent there almost whole day with elephants. Near orphanage you can find botanical garden with herbs.

Visited January 2013
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Grays Thurrock, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Bitter Sweet Visit”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

I was really excited about visiting pinnewala but was very disappointed. I felt really sorry for the elephants, 365 days per year they are marched back and forth to the lake for 'bath time' twice a day and when they were there, they did not splash about and enjoy water. They just stood there huddled together. The staff will try and force you to have your photo taken with the elephants, then demand massive tips. When I went to tip the one who had snatched a[our camera and refused to give it back, he told me it was too cheap tip and trued to barter for more!! It really ruined it for me! In our experience people who were trying to take photo's near the elephants themselves, the the mahouts would come along and move the elephants away. I also felt really sad that some of the elephants were chained up. On a positive note the baby elephants were very sweet and it was amazing to see so many elephants in one place together. But I left the experience feeling quite sad.

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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