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“Only worth a visit if you are local, not worth a long drive”

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
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
192 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“Only worth a visit if you are local, not worth a long drive”
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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2 Thank 224DavidR224
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Doha, Qatar
Level 6 Contributor
964 reviews
482 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 328 helpful votes
“Nice experience”
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
Helpful?
1 Thank Abu_Firas_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berwick upon Tweed, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Keep an open mind when visiting.”
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
Helpful?
Thank over40uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge
Level 6 Contributor
153 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
“Very overrated”
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
Helpful?
3 Thank TonyRoberts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miri, Malaysia
Level 6 Contributor
242 reviews
72 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“Mixed feelings”
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
Helpful?
3 Thank The_Miri_Epicure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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