The Orphanage was opened in 1975 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation, when studies showed that there was a high number of young orphaned, and abandoned elephants wandering around forested areas of the country.

Pinnawela was established with just 5 babies and is now home to 70+ elephants, who have a vast acreage in which to live freely. Pinnawela is proud to be home to the largest captive herd of elephant in the world. There is a very successful ongoing breeding programme allowing for the elephant population to increase, without worry of harm or injury.

With several young elephants living at the Orphanage, feeding time is great fun to see. Using giant bottles filled with milk, the keepers feed the babies, much to the delight of onlookers. Once the hungry babies are fed, there is a great opportunity to see the herd in a very natural habitat. A large expanse of land allows the herd to wander freely at will, in as close a natural habitat as is possible. Visitors get the chance to see where the elephants live and see just how well the elephants are looked after.

Twice a day the elephants are taken a short walk across to the river where they spend an hour and a half bathing and relaxing in the cooling water. This is a superb opportunity to see how the elephants interact together as a herd and to see them enjoying themselves. Especially lovely to watch are the antics of the younger elephants as they play at submarines and splashing each other delightedly.

With the entrance fees bring used to continually improve the Pinnawela Orphanage, a trip here is one which you can never forget, with your donations going to an excellent and worthy cause.