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Pana'ewa Zoo

Hilo Zoo



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Pana Ewa Zoo
About Us

About Our Zoo

The Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens is located in Hilo on the “Big Island” of Hawaii. This 12-acre zoo is the only naturally occurring tropical rainforest zoo in the United States. It is home to more than 80 animal species including Giant Anteaters, American Alligators and two Bengal Tigers, a white Bengal tiger named Tzatziki and an orange Bengal tiger named Sriracha. 

The zoo opened in 1978 and features exhibits that are designed to maximize and blend with the natural vegetation of the Pana‘ewa Forest Reserve, which gets more than 125 inches of rain a year. 

You’ll also see endemic animals like the endangered ‘Io (Hawaiian Hawk), and the Pueo (Hawaiian Owl) and the state bird, Nene

Welcome to the beautiful gardens of the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens. Take a relaxing stroll along paved paths surrounded by a lush landscape of trees and plants stopping along the way to view our zoo animals. On your walk you will find over 100 types of palm, many varieties of vireya (tropical rhododendren), bamboo, orchids, and bromeliads to name just a few. Keep a look out for the Zoo’s Discovery Forests, the Native Forest of trees and plants and the Agro-Forest of edible varieties. At the water-garden pond you will see gorgeous water hyacinth and mosaic plants. You may even spot a bullfrog on a lily-pad.

Bring the keiki to enjoy our petting zoo – open every Saturday from 1:30 p.m to 2:30 p.m. The zoo also has a playground where your keiki can enjoy the play equipment.

We feed the alligators every day at 1:30 p.m.

The zoo is operated by Hawaii County and receives its funding from the County and from private donations. Admission is free.


What We Do

Volunteer Opportunities

Besides joining Friends of the Zoo and contributing in that way, interested persons can volunteer at the Petting Zoo on Saturdays and/or join the Animal Enrichment Team on Wednesdays. Since the Petting Zoo requires working with children, there is a screening process which must take place before this can happen.

To join the Animal Enrichment Team, you need to be available most Wednesdays at noon for about  2 hours and you must have some experience with and enjoy working with animals.  Sound like something you might like?

Animal Benches

All donations to Friends of the Zoo and membership with us is tax deductible.

Gift Shop

Visit our Zoo Gift Shop for fun items like mugs, tumblers, toys, bumper stickers and more. Also we have key chains, stuffed animals and t-shirts featuring our famous tigers. We carry a variety of books and other educational items.

Drinks and light snacks are available for purchase.

Proceeds from all sales go to support the various Friends of the Zoo endeavors to care for the animals, gardens and zoo property.

Give us Money

Help the animals

Become a member

So much love to share

Friends of the Pana'ewa Zoo 



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