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“Only worth a visit if you are local, not worth a long drive” 3 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
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Only worth a visit if you are local, not worth a long drive”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

A very commercial attraction. You will be asked to pay for everything as an extra once you enter ( getting close to elephants, feeding baby elephants ). It is very busy, particularly at feeding time, and unless you can get an early front line view, then children will not be able to see.Just about worth a visit if you are local as it is nice to see the baby elephants, but I wouldn't drive 2 hours in a car from the coast to visit

Visited February 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Doha, Qatar
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54 attraction reviews
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56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Nice experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

Good time to spend. Unfortunately, tickets are Rupees 2500 for tourists and 250 for local. Feedinf elephant 250, bathing, giving milk etc... in every step you move you have to pay. I feel something wrong. Also, it's too far, we drive two hours almost to reach there.
In general, it's a good experience especially for kids. They enjoyed more than us.

Visited February 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
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17 reviews 17 reviews
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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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge
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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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miri, Malaysia
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147 reviews 147 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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