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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.

What's New at the Zoo

Saturday, December 2, 2017 was Christmas at the Zoo, which is the one day in the year when the Animal Enrichment team of volunteers provide special Christmas treats to the animals.  This special group of ladies work hard each year preparing for this event, which the animals, FOZ, and the zoo visitors all seem to enjoy thoroughly.


Some animals get toys and others get special food treats. The tigers get pumpkins.  When they first spot the pumpkins, they immediately run up to them and stop short for a brief assessment, followed by playing around with them as if they were beach balls.  Then they take possession of their pumpkins and retreat to their special place.


Watermelon, sweet potato and corn on the cob are some of the favorite foods.   FOZ always check with the Zoo staff to ensure each animal receives appropriate food.




President’s Message


We have been in the process of upgrading our website for a few months and were finally able to launch it at the end of October, thanks to the work of our excellent web designer Andrew Nisbet.  If you haven’t already seen it, please visit us at  I think you will be pleasantly surprised.


And, with Christmas approaching, we hope you’ll be able to visit our Zoo Gift Shop for some truly unique gift ideas.


Continuing with the profiles of your Friends of the Pana`ewa Zoo Board members, this month I am introducing an 80 year old firecracker of a volunteer, Shey Kravas.  She is an energetic and willing member of the Animal Enrichment Team, who says she loves goats but that her favorite animal might be Cookie, out Petting Zoo sheep.  Shey also takes on other time consuming but necessary chores for FOZ.


In addition to all her work for FOZ, Shey belongs to Friends of the Hilo Library and was volunteering one day a week at Hale Anuenue Restorative Center until she recently injured her foot.  She loves to read and kayak, although she admits to not having been kayaking here in Hilo yet.  Shey is the most appreciative fan of her grandson, William, a member of the Hilo High Viking Basketball squad.  She keeps “stats” for him at each of his games.


Before Shey came to Hilo about 5 years ago to live with her daughter and son-in-law, both nurses in Hilo, and her grandson, she lived with her husband of 54 years, who was an attorney in Chicago.  She graduated from Indiana University, where she was Queen of the Military Ball, and from which she got her teaching certificate.  She taught for 35 years in most elementary grades but spent the longest time, 28 years, teaching kindergarteners in Portage, Indiana.  She even had two young students who later went on to enroll their own sons in the same Portage school kindergarten class that Shey was still teaching!


Her Animal Enrichment Team members and the FOZ Board are so glad that Shey has chosen to live in Hilo and volunteer her time at our jewel of a Zoo.



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