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“Worth a visit”

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Pinnawala
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed October 7, 2012

A wonderful place to see feeding and bathing of probably the biggest captive elephant herd in the world
You have to understand Sri Lanka problems with elephants and especially captive elephants and only then to say “It is disgraceful cruelty" or "Don't go there"

2  Thank savinoam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,186 - 2,190 of 3,196 reviews

Reviewed September 27, 2012

If you have never seen an Elephant before and are not going anywhere where Elephants may be in Sri Lanka and you do not like going to your local zoo then i can understand why this tourist trap might appeal. For anyone else, just give some money to a charity and pass this by and carry on up to Dambulla.

Thank BMOH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2012

The elephant orphanage is a great stop off between Colombo and Dambulla. But it's the twice daily river bathing sessions across the street that are a real treat! Make sure you catch this as we almost missed it! 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm when we went.Check out a group of 30+ elephants free swimming and playing in the river while looking on from the shore or overhead restaurant. You can then follow them back to the orphanage for a visit. Very cool!

Thank DubsyB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2012

We went there as part of an organised tour to Kandy. What used to be an elephant orphanage for actual baby elephant orphans, is now a money making elephant circus for tourists. The ugly truth is that they are capturing wild elephants (who aren't real orphans) and put them into this place, chain them up and beat them into submission until they are obedient, and then use them to extort as much money out of tourists as possible.
There was also an elephant who had one leg blown off by a landmine years ago - anyone with a grain of common sense will know that with the weight of an elephant, it is cruel to keep such an animal alive - it just stood there looking really miserable leaning against large posts as it struggle to stand upright, looking on whilst the other elephants were being fed and he just ignored. Its back was totally lobsided from overcompensating on having just 3 legs. The most merciful thing would be to put this animal down.
Then there are the staff (zookeepers) who will offer to take a photograph of you with your camera, and then demand a minimum of €10 for their service before giving you your camera back. Take your own photograhs and don't fall into this trap.
It was so dissapointing but sadly the authorities won't do anything about the cruelty of the situation as it makes so much money out of tourists. Unfortunately everyone there, apart from the poor elephants, gains benefit.
The only thing that can help these beautiful, sad creatures is if tourists don't support this place.

15  Thank Diesel77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2012

We visited here on Saturday 15 September. It took about 2 hours by car to get there from our hotel and we started out really early in the morning to reach in time for the feeding. It was well worth it and we even got to bottle feed a baby elephant!! The entrance fees are minimal (approx $15 per adult), but it is something you will never forget. I would highly recommend a visit.

The only downside is be prepared to tip constantly to the staff for photographs etc. We spent more on this than anything else!

Thank leannek996
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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