We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“A Little Disappointed”

Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens
Ranked #23 of 80 things to do in Hilo
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Stroller parking, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Stroller parking, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Kissee Mills, Missouri
Level Contributor
138 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“A Little Disappointed”
3 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
Thank FlynLass1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

366 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    142
    140
    58
    22
    4
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Minden, NV
Level Contributor
115 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Sort of worth the drive”
3 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
Thank christeenmarie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
aberdeen
Level Contributor
282 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Although quiet, well worth the visit”
4 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
Thank Aberdeenvoyager
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
41 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“A great free zoo!”
4 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
Thank jeremy b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
122 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Nice little zoo and gardens”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2013

Okay - traveler tip: there are TWO different maps of the grounds, one for the animals and one for the plants. Be sure to get the right one for what you want to see. The zoo and gardens are well laid out, and kept clean - with some unusual items, such as the cinnamon trees stashed way in the back. Lots of nice flowers, tropical birds, et cetera (for a small zoo). You can get darn close to most of the animals and plants. Plenty of bathrooms. Entry is free, but I suggest supporting the zoo with either a small donation or a purchase in the gift shop. Warning: The place can get kinda swamped with buses of tourists and schoolchildren, but you can mostly avoid them (example: If the tourist bus just pulled up, don't wait in line at the bathroom at the entrance with the dozens of cruise passengers. Head into the zoo and use a different one.)

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank TomTX2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens also viewed

Hilo, Island of Hawaii
 

Been to Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing