The Dehiwala National Zoo (open daily from 8.00 am – 6.00 pm) is home to a wide diversity of Sri Lankan and foreign wildlife and bird-life.
Sri Lankan species at the Zoo include sloth bears, monkeys, porcupines, jungle and fishing cats, lots of birds and a number of leopards; part of the zoo exhibits of big cats includes jaguars, lions, tigers and cheetahs. The Zoo has an aquarium display of over 500 varieties of aquatic life. The large number of species of monkeys includes examples of all the native primates, such as the purple-faced leaf monkey, grey langur and torque macaque. There are also a wide number of mammals, from African giraffes and springboks or South American guanacos and tapirs to Australian red-necked wallabies and giant red kangaroos, plus rabbits. The major attraction is the elephant show at 5.15 pm, when elephants troop on stage in true trunk-to-tail fashion and perform a series of feats of elephantine agility.
There is also an excellent collection of bird-life, including owls, lots of cockatoos and macaws (including an astonishing – and very rare – hyacinth macaw) and taucans. There is a huge walk-in aviary full of Sri Lanka species; a good place to practice bird-spotting skills. In addition to the caged bird-life, a flooded quarry at one end of the zoo serves as a magnet to Colombo’s aquatic birds, which are fed daily at 3.30 pm. Egrets, herons and pelicans from all over the city flock here – a fine sight at times, when hundreds of swoops down onto the water.
If you feel like some food for your self, there is a restaurant inside the zoo, as well as plenty of kiosks selling drinks and snacks