A Lion laying on the grass at the Dehiwala Zoological Garden
A Lion at the Dehiwala Zoological Garden

Dehiwala zoological garden is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the vicinity of Colombo. It is the national zoological garden of Sri Lanka. It is also one of the oldest zoological gardens in the Asian continent as its history dates back to 1936.

Dehiwala zoo is home to around 2500 animals of different species. There is a huge diversity among these animals such as birds, butterflies, reptiles, and amphibians. Some of these species are endemic to Sri Lanka and there are animals from other countries as well. So, this is one of the best locations in the country to see a huge number of different kinds of animals in the same place. In addition, there is an interesting diversity of flora at the park. So, it is so worth a visit to this place as you explore Colombo.

However, here is all you need to know about planning your trip to the Dehiwala zoo. 

Places to Visit at the Dehiwala Zoological Garden

There are so many fascinating things to do and interesting places to visit at the Dehiwala zoo for both adults and children alike. The huge park is full of surprises for you. So, here are some such awesome places that you shouldn’t miss in the Dehiwala zoo.

1. Walk-In Aviaries

This is one of the most colorful locations in the whole park. Here, you will be able to see so many colorful birds flying freely in huge cages. Unlike in the other zoological gardens, birds in the Dehiwala zoo have huge cages where they can have plenty of space to fly here and there. They are maintained quite similarly to their natural habitats. Even visitors can walk inside the cages to have some quality time with the birds. It will be such a fun experience especially for the kids, to be close to different kinds of birds at once.

The swan pond and the artificial waterfall are the highlights of the aviaries. There are so many different kinds of birds in these walk-in aviaries such as parrots, flamingos, pelicans, night herons, egrets, cormorants, macaws, love birds, pheasants, painted storks, owls, eagles, etc. There are also different kinds of aquatic birds.

Undoubtedly, this is one of the most beautiful locations in the whole park. It will also be a rare opportunity for you as normally, you can’t get close to that many birds at the same time. Therefore, it is one of the best experiences that you can get at the Dehiwala zoo.

2. Aquarium

This is one of the most interesting locations inside the zoo. A walk through the aquarium is like an educational experience as well, since all the tanks carry the names and information of the relevant aquatic life.

The huge aquarium is rich with different kinds of fish. Besides, the aquarium can be mainly categorized into three parts. They are the freshwater section, marine section, and brackish water section. A significant feature of the aquarium is the endemic breeds section. They are bred in zoo ponds and have 22 tanks there.

The aquarium is also the favorite location of many of the kids that visit the zoo. Anyone would love to see this magical place filled with healthy and colorful fish. This is an ideal location to closely observe the various behavioral patterns and the breeding characteristics of different kinds of fish. All of this makes it a must-have experience if you are visiting the Dehiwala Zoo. Especially, if you are visiting with kids, don’t forget to take them to the aquarium.

3. Butterfly Garden

Who doesn’t like butterflies? There is an entire section dedicated to these innocent and beautiful creatures in the Dehiwala zoological gardens. This whole section is a sight for the sore eyes because of the beautiful colors and the iconic landscape.

In the Dehiwala zoo, there is an eye-catching garden with a small stream in the middle which is a safe haven for a variety of butterflies. Here you will feel heavenly as hundreds of butterflies fly around you. This small garden of butterflies will be one of your favorite locations in the zoo for sure! Apart from these absolutely beautiful creatures, the garden is also rich with so many flowers and plants.

A significant feature of the butterfly garden is the section where you can learn about the life cycle of the butterflies. This section will be very important for your kids as they have such lessons for their school activities as well. These butterflies mostly feed on the flower nectar but they are also provided with honey and fruit juice for extra nourishment.

Don’t forget to visit the butterfly garden in the Dehiwala zoo to get a Disneyland- like experience filled with delicate butterflies.

4. Elephant Show

Here is another activity in the zoo which gets a lot of attention from the visitors. There is a huge audience of little kids for the elephant show every time. These majestic animals performing a choreographed dance are always a delight to see. So, it is a loved activity by both children and adults alike.

The elephant show usually takes place in the evening. So, if you are in and around the zoo at around 5.00 p.m., you can also join this audience to see a fun elephant dance. You will be amazed at how these huge animals perform small tricks and antics like standing up on their hind legs or hopping on their feet. These elephants are well-treated and cared for in the zoo. Hence, they do their best to entertain the visitors.

You don’t have to purchase any special tickets for the elephant show.

How to Reach the Dehiwala Zoological Garden?

If you are in Colombo, it is very easy to reach the Dehiwala zoo from there. The zoological garden is situated just 10 kilometers away from the heart of Colombo city. The address of the Dehiwala zoo is Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Dehiwala 10350, Sri Lanka.

The most popular and most convenient method to travel to the zoo is by bus. If you don’t like to travel by public transportation, you shall hire a tuk-tuk or a taxi from Colombo city. It is just a short drive to the Dehiwala zoological garden from Colombo city and you’ll be able to visit the zoo within 10 minutes. 

Best Time to Visit the Dehiwala Zoological Garden

Dehiwala zoo is actually a year-round destination. The zoo is open for visitors from 8.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. However, the most popular time to visit the garden is usually around 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. It will take around 3 to 4 hours to complete a tour inside the zoo.

Dehiwala zoo is closed on poya days and other public holidays. Then, the zoo gets quite busy during the weekends and on school holidays. So, if you want to have a hassle-free experience in the garden, it is better to visit on the weekdays.

There is an entrance fee to visit the zoological garden.

The Bottom Line

As you already know, Dehiwala zoological garden is a popular and family-friendly tourist attraction situated in the neighborhood of Colombo. Most of the tourists who visit Sri Lanka don’t forget to pay a visit to this wonderful garden. Especially, if you are traveling with kids, they will love to pay a visit to the zoo. Since you will be visiting Colombo anyway while you are in Sri Lanka, this is an experience that you shouldn’t miss. So don’t forget to add Dehiwala zoo to your must-visit list in Sri Lanka. Happy and safe traveling!