Located just outside Hilo, the Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo is the only tropical zoo in the United States. In the zoo you can find a variety of rainforest animals and endangered Hawaiian animals such as spider monkeys, lemurs, nene geese (the Hawaiian State bird), and over 80 other animal species.
Animal encounters and the petting zoo
One must-do for kids are the animal encounters and that are organized throughout the day and the petting zoo (only on Saturday). You can see the live schedule on the Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo here.
An impromptu botanical garden
While not planned, the many labeled plants and trees showcased on the grounds make the Panaʻewa zoo also feel like a botanical garden. During your visit you will see many orchids, bamboos, varieties of palms, and a water garden.
How long does a visit to the Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo take?
The zoo is pretty small, plan on spending about one to two hours walking around checking out the animals and plants / flowers.
Opening hours and Admission
The zoo is open daily from 10 AM to 4 PM except on Christmas & New Years Day & the first Thursday of each month. Admission is free, but please consider either leaving a donation or a visit to their gift shop to support this local zoo and their outreach activities.
What to bring
The zoo is located in a natural rainforest so bring rain gear and sunscreen for everyone in your group. If needed, light weight ponchos and umbrellas are available for purchase at the gift shop.
Another thing NOT to forget is mosquito repellent.
Visit the Panaʻewa zoo website for more information.