The Dehiwala Zoo houses a range of endemic, indigenous, and exotic animals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians and butterflies.
In the 1920s, John Hagenbeck, who was a member of his family’s animal circus, collected animals to export to his brother Carl Hagenbeck in Europe. He bought 5 acres of land in Dehiwala at the beginning of the century to keep his collection. Subsequently, the center was taken over by the Sri Lankan Government in 1936. The extent of the land was gradually increased to 23 acres.
There are approximately 350 species of animals, including the Sri Lankan leopard, African lion, Bengal tiger, jaguar, red giant kangaroos, wallabies, lemurs, monkeys, apes, gibbons, orangutans, chimpanzees, ostrich, cassowary, emu, spot-billed pelicans, macaws, pheasants, love birds, owls, eagles, and kites, as well as endangered species like the black rhinoceros, Arabian oryx, and the white tiger.
The sea lion performance has been one of the main attractions since the arrival of Chakku from Japan in May 2003. Another is Tony, the baby chimpanzee, who was raised by hand because his mother refused to nurse him. There are elephant and pony rides, as well as a sea lion and elephant show.
Elephant rides: Saturday, 2:30pm – 4:00pm
Pony rides: Sunday, 2:30pm – 4.00pm
Sea Lion Show: Every day, 4:00pm – 4:15pm
Elephant Show: Every day, 4:30pm – 4:55pm
Monday – Sunday: 8:30am to 6:00pm, last ticket sales at 5:30pm
Foreign adult: Rs.2,000
Foreign child: Rs.1,000