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The Dehiwala Zoological Gardens is more commonly referred to by the locals as the Colombo Zoo. The Zoo originally came to be in the early 20th Century when John Hagenbeck, the brother of the famous animal trainer Carl Hagenbeck, established the “Ceylon Zoological Gardens” as a company. The company’s objective was to act as a collecting depot for the captured wild animals destined for the Zoos of Europe. However, though the company went Bankrupt and was bought by the Government. It is regarded as the pioneer of the open Zoo Concept in Asia.
Primates: You can find over 16 different varieties of Monkeys which can be found here. You can witness family groups of Monkeys with mothers carrying their babies, and also Orang Utans and Chimpanzees.
Birds: Birds are not caged up in tiny enclosures, but there are two large Aviaries. One is for exotic birds and the other is for indigenous birds. Not only that you can also find a Swan pond and an Ostrich enclosure. Groups of Flamingos are also found near the entrance of the Park. The bird enclosures are made in a way to mimic the natural habitat of the birds and also designed to give the birds the ability to fly freely.
Butterflies: 30 different species of butterflies can be found in the small but attractive Butterfly garden found in the Zoo. The garden has a small stream running through it along with colorful shrubs and flowers. The Butterflies are fed with natural nectar and also artificial bee honey and also fruit pieces and juice. In order to educate the visitors, you can also find the other stages of the butterfly life cycle.
Aquarium: There are three water sections, Freshwater, Marine, and Brackish. In addition to these, there are also many ponds throughout the Zoo and three tanks with Amphibians inhabiting them.Visitors can witness many Rare varieties of Fish bred in the aquariums and zoo ponds in addition to the many species of fish and corals found here.
Cats: Many predators can be found in here. Sri Lankan Leopards, African Lions, Bengal Tigers are the biggest cats found in the Zoo. Both white and orange Bengal tigers can both be witnessed here.
Reptiles: You can find more than 32 different species of reptiles inhabiting the Reptilium found at the Colombo Zoo. Tortoises, Turtles, and Snakes are just some of the Reptiles you can find. You can also witness the Galapagos Giant Tortoise which stays near the entrance to welcome visitors. All the indoor enclosures for the reptiles are made in a way in which they receive sunlight and ventilation, mimicking the nature they usually live in.
Elephants: There are two types of Elephants in the world, Asian and African. Dehiwala Zoological Gardens is one of the only places in Sri Lanka where you can witness both types of Elephants.
Ungulates ( Hoofed Mammals): There are two types of Hoofed Mammals, Even-toed and Odd toed.You can find both types of these Ungulates at the Zoo. You can find Zebra enclosures and Giraffe Enclosures. Black Rhinoceros and Hippopotamus, the second and third largest animal on land can also be found here. There are many types of Deers and Horses roaming the Dehiwala zoo. In addition to these animals, you can also find Porcupines, Squirrels, and Rabbits too.
1. Meeting the Sea Lion “ Chakku” - LKR 3000
2. Say Hello to the Elephants – LKR 5000
3.Meet the Birds of the Dehiwala Zoo (Only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) – LKR 3000
4. “Snakes are our Friends” (Only on Saturday and Sunday)
The Dehiwala Zoological Gardens are open every day of the week) and the open times are from 8.30 Am to 6.00 PM. The ticket Prices for Tourists are LKR 2500 for adults and LKR 1250 for children. SAARC Visitor prices are LKR 700 for Adults and LKR 350 for Children. It is also important to note that the last ticket sale will be at 5.30 PM.