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Dehiwala Zoological Garden: How to Reach, Travel Tips & Time

Dehiwala Zoological Garden also known as National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka, Colombo Zoo or Dehiwala Zoo is zoological garden where visitors get to see various wildlife from birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, and amphibians.

The zoo was established in 1963 and it is the oldest zoological garden in Asia. It is home of various animal not only found in Sri Lanka, Asia but also from across the world.

The tours to this zoo is both fun and educative experience, you should try it when you are touring Dehiwala Sri Lanka.

Where is Dehiwala Zoological Garden Located?

Dehiwala Zoological Garden is located Sri Lanka Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, 120 Galvihara Road.

Attractions at Dehiwala Zoological Garden

There are several attractions which you can explore when you visit Dehiwala Zoological Garden. Here are these attractions.

1. See Mammals

From the time you enter the zoo you attention will be draw by the apman’s Zebras at the zoo’s entrance (Equus burchelli antiquorum).

Most visitors cannot pass the urge to take photo in front of the zebra. You should also take one. Besides, you can also see the zebra as they eat in families, galloping and leaping.

2. Monkeys

There are approximately 16 different types of monkeys which you can see at this zoo. Among them is endemic species Purple Faced Leaf Monkey (Trachypithecus vetulus) and subspecies Toque Monkey (Macaca sinica sinica).

The spider monkey draws visitor’s attention as they jump and swing in style from branch to branch. Also, it is amazing to observe as the monkey mothers take care of their babies.

Other primitive primates you can see at the zoo are brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus albifrons), the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta), and the Slender Loris subspecies (Loris tardigrates). Not forgetting to mention also apes Orang Utans and Chimpanzees.

3. Butterfly Garden

There are around 245 butterfly species in Sri Lanka. Over 100 species are endangered and 26 endemic. You ca see most of these butter species in the butterfly garden area in the zoo.

The visual is appealing as you see butterflies flying around the garden full of shrubs and flowers. The visual is more pleasant because of the small stream which runs through the butterfly garden.

4. Birds

There are approximately 225 bird species and 33 endemics found in the Sri Lanka. These birds are found across the Island deepening on climate changes and habitant.

When you visit Dehiwala Zoological Garden you will get to see various birds among them flightless birds, parrot species, aquatic and semi-aquatic birds.

5. Reptile House

There are around 209 reptile species in Sri Lanka. Approximately 125 species are only found in Sri Lanka. At the zoo you will get to see different species among them Snakes, lizards, crocodiles, turtles, and tortoises.

6. Cat Family

There are different carnivores members of the cat family you will get to see at the zoo. Among them are Sri Lankan Leopard, Bengal Tiger and African Lion.

You will get to see the different variety of Bengal Tigers both the orange and white varieties. The other notable cat in the zoo is Sri Lankan leopard subspecies native to Sri Lanka also known as “Kotiya” and “Diviy” in Sinhala.

7. Aquarium

The aquarium is among main attraction in the zoo. It has been operational for over 40 years. It is divided into marine, fresh water and brackish water.

The aquarium is among main attraction in the zoo. It has been operational for over 40 years. It is divided into marine, fresh water and brackish water.

8. Elephant arena

You can enjoy elephant show when you visit the elephant arena in the zoo. You will get see elephant even though they are big animals standing on their heads, hopping on one foot, standing on their hind legs and wiggling to music beats. The performance starts every day from 4:30p.m.

9. Sea lion pool

You can also visit the sea lion pool and enjoy performance of two California sea lions. The lions are kept in a small enclosure. They are only allowed to swim when they are not performing. The show is held every day expect if it rains from 7:45pm and last for 15 minutes.

You can also check out places to visit in Trincomalee.

Best Time to Visit Dehiwala Zoological Garden

Winter (from October to February) or the dry season is the best time to visit the Dehiwala Zoo. During these two seasons there is minimal rainfall in the country. Also there is no humidity and temperatures are on lower end.

You should visit the zoo early in the morning when it is less crowded. Also, you should visit the zoo on time so that you have enough time to explore most of the parts. The zoo is open all days of the week from 08:30 AM to 06:00 PM.

Ticket Prices of Dehiwala Zoological Garden

You will need to have a ticket to be allowed enter in the zoo. The tickets prices are as follows:

1. For Sri Lankans

  • Adult LKR 100.00
  • Children LKR 30.00 (3-12 Years)
  • Children LKR 20.00

2. For School/Nursery Group

  • Overseas Visitors
  • Adult LKR 2500.00
  • Children LKR 1250.00

3. For SAARC Visitors

  • Adult LKR 700.00
  • Children LKR 350.00

How to Reach Dehiwala Zoological Garden?

There are several means you can use to get to the zoo. It is located 40 km from the Colombo Airport and takes around one hour and fifteen minutes to get there.

1. By Taxi

You can hire a taxi to get to the zoo for around 45 minutes’ drive. The cost is at least 8,511 LKR. The cost is hire compared to use of public transport but it is the most convenient way.

2. By Bus

You can board public bus to get to the zoo and will take around hour and fifty minutes. It cheaper compared to hiring a taxi. You should board bus heading route A2 to the Dehiwala Zoo.

3. By Air

You can take flight from Colombo Airport to Diyawanna Oya which is 15 minutes flight and will cost between LKR 25, 000 to LKR 60, 0000. Then you will take a taxi to get to the zoo which is 15 minutes’ drive.


The visit to the Dehiwala Zoological Garden is worth and you will get to see several wildlife and birds. More so, you will get to see marine life in the aquarium, learn about the breeding of the endanger butterflies and fish and enjoy show performance of lion sea and elephant.

The overall experience when you tour this zoo is both fun and educative. The flora and fauna in the park also make it stunning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The elephant dance at Dehiwala Zoo is held every day at 04:30 PM.

There are around 2500-3000 animals living in the zoo. There are also different bird species and fishes.

The sea lion show at Dehiwala Zoo is around 7:45 PM everyday expect if it rains. The time is subject to change.

You can explore visit Dehiwala Zoo for around 4-5 hours.