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“It's a FREE Zoo...Why Not!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens

Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens
Hwy 11 to Stainback Hwy, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
808 959 7224
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Ranked #27 of 66 things to do in Hilo
Activities: Viewing wildlife
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Stroller parking
Attraction details
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Stroller parking
Hastings, Michigan
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“It's a FREE Zoo...Why Not!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2014

I have to admit, I'm a zoo person, so this was our first stop our first morning in Hawaii. We got there right when it opened so we were the only people there when we first arrived. It's a nice, quiet peaceful place full of gorgeous plant life. There isn't an abundance of animals, but it is free after all and some of the animals are not all that common compared to some of the zoos on the mainland. It was great leisurely walk with interesting things to see and a way for us to get a taste of some of the plants Hawaii had to offer all in one spot before we really began our vacation. Definitely go, especially if you have kids and are in Hilo.

Visited June 2013
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Kissee Mills, Missouri
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“A Little Disappointed”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2014

We visited the zoo, which was nicely maintained and FREE. It didn't seem like there were very many animals there. We were looking forward to seeing Namaste, the white Bengal tiger, but he was not out. We learned two days later that he was in a lot of pain with hip dyplasia and had been put down the day after our visit, which is sad. The lemurs were entertaining and there were a lot of parrots of different types. The zoo is sadly lacking in any type of signs to direct you to the various animal areas - or even the restrooms (other than one sign near the entrance, which vaguely pointed into the zoo)! There seemed to be a number of families with small children there, but not a lot for them to see. At the entrance was a small gift shop with ice cream novelties and soft drinks for sale.

Visited January 2014
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Minden, NV
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Sort of worth the drive”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2013

It is over a 2 hour drive to Hilo from Kona but we did it this year as wanted to visit this Rainforest Zoo. The main attraction was Namaste, the white tiger. The zoo is free which is a good thing because if there was a charge I would have been sorely disappointed. We hiked up to where the tiger was enclosed and NO TIGER. A prison crew person who was working in area with little oversight, pointed out to the few of us who were wondering where he went that they were not letting him out of his cage, there would be no public feeding that day and that he was very very old. He looked on his "last legs", thought he was laying down.
The rest of the zoo was sparse but I always like to look a lemurs. There were peacocks wandering around which is the one attraction I enjoyed, I even bought a stuffed peacock in the gift store. I think there was a petting zoo of small farm animals for the children.

Visited December 2013
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aberdeen
Top Contributor
283 reviews 283 reviews
59 attraction reviews
Reviews in 72 cities Reviews in 72 cities
115 helpful votes 115 helpful votes
“Although quiet, well worth the visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2013

Visited as part of a tour, well worth the time taken, well laid with a small shop selling food, drinks etc. the plants were stunning although some the animals were difficult to see in the cages and enclosures due to the thickness of the cage bars.

Visited November 2013
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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“A great free zoo!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2013

This is a great stop to make one day. Its free and they have a great collection of animals there. The main attractions is the white bengal but when we went he/she was out cold. It was also a little sad to see such a majestic creature behing a fence, but hey its a zoo.

Visited November 2013
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