Looking for kid friendly activities in Hilo, Hawaii, I came across Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens. This zoo is run by Hawaii County and has FREE admission!
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.
This zoo will not be wining any awards for wow-ing with their animals, but I really enjoyed the beautiful grounds and scenery. Walking around the zoo is more like strolling through tropical rainforest. 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.
This is a perfect place to take your kids. They have a brand new playground that is guaranteed to delight and tire out your child. This is the place to be on the weekends if you have a child under 10. Also, on Saturdays they have a petting zoo from 1:30 to 2:30 pm and feed the alligators daily at 1:30 pm.
The zoo is open everyday from 9 am to 4 pm and only closed for Christmas and New Years. I highly recommend visiting the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens to take your children or if you want to take a peaceful walk in nature.