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“Keep an open mind when visiting.” 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
uk
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17 reviews 17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Keep an open mind when visiting.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

This orphanage is very well run and although people have commented about the chains on some of the elephants, this is for the trainers safety and yours. Baby elephants are being fed with chains on but obviously they have to be kept in one area or they would just run riot. The whole experience of being beside these magnificent creatures should be marvelled and watching them whilst you have a snack and a cool drink at the river restaurant is a great idea.

Visited February 2014
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Cambridge
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65 reviews 65 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Very overrated”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

We had high expectations of witnessing "something special" at Pinnawala, but were rather let down by the experience.
Whilst it is true that one could be at very close quarters with the elephants, both young and old, but one left with the impression that this was very much a commercial venture (not inexpensive) rather than an orphanage.
The whole process of visitors feeding the young a bottle of milk through a tube was very undignified as visitors were crammed shoulder to shoulder and then managed just 20 seconds of holding a tube whilst the keeper filled it with a funnel.

Visited February 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miri, Malaysia
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148 reviews 148 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“Mixed feelings”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2014

This well known tourist spot left me with mixed feelings.

First, it is not an orphanage. 15 minutes there and it is obvious it is a business, and all the babies I saw had their mothers with them.
Next, the conditions were far from ideal. There seemed to be a lot of "disturbed" elephants. That may account for the abudnance of chains they have to wear.

However, the highlight was undoubtedly being stood next to the exit gate as the whole herd of 30 or 40 headed to the river. I have never been that close to elephants before.
Awesome.
TOP TIP: Do not bother going into the orphanage, but head down to the riverside hotels, order tea & brunch and wait for the herd to come down & bathe.

Visited February 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
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3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Fed the young”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2014

Great afternoon feeding the young ones and then sitting by the river watching them all play in the river whilst having a long cool drink and a snack
This is the 5th time and I'm still mesmerised by it all could watch them all day

Visited February 2014
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23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Prison not orphanage”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2014

We were there with our kids. Looking at elephants with chains on legs is destressful. People who should take care of these animals want only one thing from you - MONEY for everything. So you pay a lot for a ticket, then you have to pay to tips for a photo, for giving a corn, for touching an elephant. A real project for orphan elephants is in Kenia - I highly recommend visiting this place near Nairobi. Pinnavala is not a necessary point in your Sri Lankan schedule. The only interesting thing is paper producing from elephants' poo.

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