The Dehiwala Zoological Gardens is the place to visit if you want to spend a day surrounded by picturesque scenery, a calm atmosphere and of course, a variety of fantastic animals from all over the world. Exhibiting over 350 different species and spreading the message of the importance of wildlife conservation, a visit here can be both entertaining and educational.
The Dehiwala Zoo was first established when Sri Lanka was under British rule in the late 1920s. Initially, the zoo mainly displayed native species, but as the years passed its collection kept growing. Currently, it has quite a large variety of both international and native species – from big cats like lions and jaguars to primates like chimpanzee and orangutan. In recent times, the zoo saw the introduction of several exotic species such as green anacondas from South America and a pair of white tigers from China. The park also has an extensive aquarium and serpentarium. In the former, you’ll be able to observe a litany of fish species – from the giant red-tailed catfish to flesh-eating piranhas who are native to the Amazon basin. The reptile house harbours all manner of scaly creatures, from massive estuarine crocodiles to some of the most venomous species of snakes in the world!
The Zoo also hosts several shows ever day at certain times. The most popular of these is the elephant show which sees the giant pachyderms perform playful tricks such as headstands. The resident California sea lions also star in the show that sees them swim about in their pool and grab fish right out of their trainer’s hand. There are also educational programs as well, notably one which is focused on baby chimpanzees. Here attendees are taught interesting facts about these primates, such as their biology, behaviour and social structures. You also get to interact with baby chimpanzees during this and that can be quite a priceless experience.
Wandering around the zoo you’ll definitely work up quite the appetite. Fortunately, there are several restaurants for you to choose from inside, and if you want to cool off, you can even grab some ice cream!