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Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka

Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka
The elephants playing in the river at the Elephant Orphanage

At the time I was travelling from Colombo to Kandy in Sri Lanka, I didn’t even know the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage existed. I saw a few signs and my driver asked if I wanted to stop by; I love elephants so of course I did. Not sure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t really as much of a zoo-type facility as I presumed. For the 2 hours I was there the elephants (most of them) were free to roam around and play in the river as they pleased.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Schedule

Orphanage opens
Bottle feeding baby elephants
Herd leaves to go play in river
Elephants return from river
More Bottle feeding baby elephants
Herd leaves to go play in river again
Return from the river
Bottle feed baby elephants again
Ticket counter closes
Orphanage closes

Apparently I missed the bottle feeding time, but pretty much as soon as I arrived they began marching the elephants down a dirt road towards the river. They stopped traffic on the main highway to let the elephants cross, and a couple hundred meters later they arrived at the river. The entry fee for foreign adults is Rs. 2000, about $18 US, which I found expensive being in Sri Lanka, but I had just arrived and didn’t know better yet (see article: Would You Expect Sri Lanka To Be Cheap?).

Over all the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was very cool to visit for a couple hours. You get to see a bunch of elephants playing in the river in an environment which they enjoy, and is pretty rare to experience firsthand. If you’re around the cultural triangle area, especially on the Kandy corner, be sure to make the short trip down to check out the Elephants.

Baby Elephant Walking, Pinnawala Orphanage
A baby walking amongst the adults towards the river
Elephants Walking At The Pinnawala Orphanage
An elephant staring at me as they make their way to the river
Elephants Crossing The Road
The workers leading the elephants across the main road as traffic waits
Baby Elephant Eating A Flower
This little baby found a flower or something in the river and decided to eat it
Local Tourist At Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
A local posing for a photo in front of the elephants
Mother Elephant & Her Baby
A mother and her baby playing in the river
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka
Looking up at the crowd observing the elephants from above and men trimming trees for food
Worker Watching Elephants, Pinnawala Orphanage
A worker sitting on a rock watching the elephants play
Porcupines, Sri Lanka
A woman showing her Porcupines for money on the side of the road near the orphanage
Elephants walking down to and playing in the river at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

More Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Pictures

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Map

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