Pana'eva Rainforest Zoo and Gardens Logo
Visit Friends of the Zoo Facebook page. Make a donation to Friends of the Zoo and help take care of our animals.

The Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens is located in Hilo, Hawaii and is open every day except Christmas and New Year's from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


For more information call (808) 959-9233.

Friends of the Pana'ewa Zoo

Friends of the Pana'ewa Zoo was formed in 1981 and received its nonprofit status in 1986.  Its intent was and still is to promote the Pana'ewa  Zoo, to assist in providing for special zoo needs, and to enhance the lives of the resident animals wherever possible without interfering with the operations of this municipal zoo, owned and operated by the County of Hawaii.


To accomplish our goal of promoting the zoo, we encourage those interested in our zoo to contribute to the Friends of the Pana'ewa Zoo (FOZ). Information regarding membership is located on the back of every zoo map. There are other opportunities for cash contributions, including a donation box, at the entry/exit of the zoo. These are all ways you can help FOZ fund projects at your zoo. We also have a Facebook page and a website that show recent pictures of our animals and events, as well as our quarterly newsletters.  Both of these sites are popular with visitors to our island as well as local residents who frequent the zoo often.


We also encourage people to adopt animals by contributing to Friends of the Pana'ewa Zoo at the gift shop, where the adopters are given an information packet and a certificate of adoption, signifying that the donor is helping that animal with special enrichment toys, any requested veterinary approved dietary supplements and other needs that the adopted animal might require. Adoptions cost $25 per adopted animal.


Also part of promoting the zoo are our special events during the year.  This year those events included our annual Plant Sale and our Tiger Fun Day.



With the proceeds of FOZ memberships, the plant sale, bench sales and our Tiger Fun Day, we are able to fund various zoo projects and FOZ Board interests.  Before each expenditure is made, there is discussion and approval by the Board.   We are also the recipients of grants by interested community members and local businesses, and use those grants in a similar fashion.  Some of the recent proposals we have given money for are:  Special toys for the tigers, special lighting for the reptile house, travel expenses to bring the tigers to Hawaii, copper sheeting to keep slugs out of the lemur exhibit, and fencing materials for a new donkey enclosure. These requests also play into our goal of enhancing the lives of the residents of the zoo.


Another endeavor which gives us funds for zoo projects is the operation of the zoo gift shop.  With the dedication of our gift shop staff members and help from Senior Employment, the gift shop is open every day that the zoo is open.  They contribute a significant part of our funding for zoo projects.


At present, FOZ has two special events during the year.


The Plant Sale happens in late April or early May, usually the Sunday before Mother’s Day.  Plant vendors and others are invited to sell their specialty plants and the various societies that plant at the zoo, including the Bamboo, Palm, Cycad, Orchid, Water Garden and Tropical Vireya Societies are frequently present to provide information about their areas of expertise.


Tiger Fun Day is usually in July.  Since the arrival of our now-two-year-old-tigers, it celebrates their release from quarantine in 2016.  FOZ provides games, entertainment and food for the family to enjoy and special treats for the tigers.  Terry and Tammy Tiger, seen in photos on this website, are welcomed guests, along with Andy Alligator.

Friends of the Zoo monthly board meeting  October, 2017.

Friends of the Zoo monthly board meeting

October, 2017.

Christmas at the Zoo. The enrichment team is getting treats ready for the monkeys.

Christmas at the Zoo. The enrichment team is getting treats ready for the monkeys.

When the whole enrichment team shows up on Wednesdays, every one of the goats gets to go for a walk. It's Fun! It's just like walking a dog.

When the whole enrichment team shows up on Wednesdays, every one of the goats gets to go for a walk. It's fun! It's just like walking a dog.

Terry and Tammy Tiger greet visitors during Tiger Fun Day, July 2017.

This website is paid for and managed by “Friends of the Pana'ewa Zoo.” Friends of the Pana'ewa Zoo is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, which is not affiliated with the County of Hawai'i. The official County website can be found at