Established in 1975 by the Sri Lankan Wildlife Department and in 1978 it was taken under the Zoological Department and eventually started the captive breeding programme. The objective of this programme is to provide a lifeline to the orphaned baby elephants, while simulating the natural habitat in a controlled and enclosed area.
The first birth was in 1984, at present Pinnawala has the largest herd of elephants in the world. Most of the herd is used to the curious human visitors watching them all day and usually are harmless.
It is most famous among the tourists and locals for the fact that this is the only place to see and interact with the elephants in such close-quarters. The best visiting time will be during the feeding times which occur 3 times a day and the bathing times, happen twice daily. And there is the potential to become a foster parent to the new born baby elephants by monthly donation.
Sits 90km away and about 2 hours drive from Colombo, Pinnawala is a short de-tour from the Colombo-Kandy Road.