When you visit Colombo with family, your travel itinerary mush have room for the National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka, a spectacular greenish sanctuary serving home to a wide variety of animals, birds and other interesting species. Regarded as one of the time-old zoos in Asia, National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka, largely known as Dehiwala Zoo, is the first oasis for wildlife animals to implement open zoo concept. With pleasantly vegetated landscapes of stunning collection of flora, the Dehiwala Zoo, one of the interesting tourist spots near Colombo, has numerous indigenous and exotic species of mammals, birds, reptiles & amphibians.
All the 10 hectors of land of Dehiwala Zoo is a lavish feast on the wonderful diversity of vibrant natural Eco system where amazing variety of flora contribute to green landscapes and gardens. The zoo has different sections where you would watch different animal species and their habitats made in artificial forest patches accessible via shady walkways. Walk-in Aviaries has more than sixty of lovely bird species. In major three sections, nearly one hundred fish varieties are taken care of at the Aquarium. Butterfly garden is the most beautiful attraction where over 30 species of colorful butterflies fly here and there in the natural surroundings. There are animal shows, reptile house, and enclosures.
It was in the late 1920s, Zoological Garden Company, what is known as today as National Zoological Garden, was founded in Sri Lanka by John Hagenbeck. But it was liquidated at the outset of World War 2 only to be taken over by the government who added it to Zoological Garden of Ceylon. Thanks to the rich animal collection the prior German owner kept at the Zoo, the newly-branded Dehiwala Zoo began functioning again in 1939. Being a fully-fledged animal sanctuary with large amount of animal wealth, the Dehiwala Zoo has various exhibitions conducted even before the World War 1.
Walking back and forth between different sections of the sanctuary enjoying the genuine life of a plethora of wildlife animals and birds shall truly engage family visitors with kids. The zoo provides a mix of comfortable jungle hiking and sightseeing with a plenty of forest patches and artificial greenery you have to go past while taking strolls in the zoo. Besides, watching nightly circus and elephant shows are pretty interesting for visitors of all ages. Elephants shall dance, perform activities and wave hello at you. Guests are open to witnessing several other animal shows like educational programs on chimps and sea lion performances. The activities for the guests also include elephant rides, pony rides and boat riding.
Wondering how to reach Dehiwala zoo? Simple and easy! Around 10 Kilometers away from the heart of the Colombo city, Dehiwala Zoo, one of the best family-friendly tourist attractions in Colombo, Sri Lanka would only take you a short drive to reach there. You shall hire a tuk tuk or go for public transportation. If you would like much more convenient alternate, you shall also get trains from Colombo. The address is as follows, Anagarika Dharmapala, Mawatha, Dehiwala 10350, Sri Lanka. Being an year-round destination, the zoo is open from 8 in the morning to 6 pm daily and the special animal shows are put on from Friday through Sunday at 7 pm.
Now, Dehiwala Zoological Garden has 65 species of birds, 89 species of fishes, 72 species of mammals, 31 species of Reptiles, 30 species of butterflies and 3 families of Amphibians with the total number of animals ranged between from 2500-3000.
Mammals include Asian elephant. oryx, spotted deer. lion jaguar, tiger, sloth bear, primates, zebra, giraffe, sea lion and hippopotamus.
Birds species include pelican, eagle, hawk, ostrich, macaws, owls, cormorants, egrets, cassowary and swans.
Some of the reptiles are anaconda, cobra, put viper, python, cat snakes, easter green mamba, krait, crocodiles, beaded lizard, and turtles.