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“Actually not bad ”

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
Level 6 Contributor
315 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
“Actually not bad ”
Reviewed January 4, 2014 via mobile

Visited during bathing in river. Elephants 50+ seemed quite relaxed in the river bathing session and playing. Coffee on the patio with a very serene and picturesque background. Mahouts were keeping them in check with mostly verbal commands. No rides or tricks which seems like the most humane treatment of elephants we have seen anywhere. $25US admission seems steep but if most of it goes to the care of the animals seems worth it. Travelled from Columbo 2 + hrs enroute to Habarana.

1 Thank Muskoka21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Like a circus or zoo”
Reviewed January 4, 2014

I had the impression that the elephants in the orphanage would be able to live as close to a natural life as possible. But I was so wrong, these poor elephants a forced around by the care takers. They cant walk around freely and have to stay within a very small perimeter. The elephants have to role their trunks for tourists who wants to take photos or standing in a chain inside a circus lookalike arena while tourist can pay to feed them.

I feel so disappointed!! Its nothing better than circus tricks in a elephant zoo.

Visited January 2014
2 Thank Swemfa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
York, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2014

I visited here 20 years ago & it will always be one of the best days of my life, the elephants were happy & well cared for & we had no hassle from the staff at all. I can't believe the reviews I have just read & how much it appears to have changed. I have always said I would take my children there - maybe not now - based on what i have read. How sad!

I have rated this as excellent which it was back then & had to put the date as Jan 2014 - although it was Nov 1994 when I was there!!

Visited January 2014
Thank 391DeborahB391
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandbach, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Trip to Sri Lanka 17th December 2013”
Reviewed January 3, 2014

This was the highlight of my cruise on Voyager having sailed to Dubai, then five ports in India ending up in Sri Lanka. The weather was hot and humid but the views of these mostly unshackled great big animals being led down a street to bathe in the river was awesome. The sight of the 3 legged elephant in the hospital wing coping with his disability, and the orphaned babies making one hell of a noise at feeding time - truly a day not to be missed if you are in this vicinity.

Visited December 2013
Thank Patricia D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Sad & upsetting”
Reviewed January 1, 2014

2nd visit here and could not believe what I was seeing and how different it was from the 1st time. the elephants were treated poorly at times. The elephants were trying to climb the banks of the river to get away from the sticks which the keepers were pokeing them with - I would never advise anyone to go. This time we went to watch the elephants by the river and did not go into the orphanage as other guests were saying how awful it was. These elephants need help to let them live a happy life.

Visited December 2013
4 Thank Andi W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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