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.