Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo Named Best in State

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Reader’s Digest has named the County of Hawai‘i’s Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo the best zoo in the State of Hawai‘i, as part of a review of zoos around the United States.

Reader’s Digest said:

“Think you have to book a trip to South America to venture through a rainforest in real life? Think again. As soon as you step inside this Hawai‘i hotspot, which is the only tropical zoo in the United States, you’ll feel like you’re in the Amazon, surrounded by giant orchids, walls of bamboo, and 80 different animal species. Wander through the rainforest (it gets over 125 inches of rain per year!) as you watch spider monkeys and lemurs swing from the trees and listen to the caws of colorful parrots.”

Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens, Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii, United States. Wikimedia image

The 12-acre Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens in Hilo is the only zoo in the United States located in a rainforest. It is operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation, and admission is free.

“We are so proud of this precious gem of a zoo and botanical gardens, which is kept so wonderfully thanks to the hard work of our staff and dedicated Friends of the Zoo and many other volunteers,” said Parks and Recreation Director Roxcie Waltjen. “This recognition by the Reader’s Digest is a wonderful affirmation of our Zoo, which means so much to our community, visitors and especially our keiki.”


Visit the zoo’s website online or call (808) 959-9233. The zoo is open every day except Christmas and New Year’s Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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