The Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens is open 9am-4pm daily and entrance is free thanks to the county of Hawaii. It is located off Hwy 11, on the left side when driving into Hilo.
Bring water and wear lots of sunscreen. It is usually warm at the zoo and once you are there it is hard to leave (we can't get enough of the peacefullness and love the gardens). There are numerous benches to rest, many in the shade, and picnic tables if you want to bring lunch. You can rent a stroller for the kids. The zoo has a gift shop at the entrance.
The first thing that greets you is a colorful water pond.
Bright colored parrots are everywhere.
The paths are lined with palm trees of all kinds, bamboo and brightly colored tropical flowers. With acres and acres to stroll, the zoo and gardens are a perfect place for a leisurely walk.
All along the walk ways are incredible flowers and multicolored displays of tropical vegetation.
Of course the zoo has animals too, in cages along the walkways.
The zoo's website has detailed information about all their animals, birds, and other critters.
The peacocks roam throughout the zoo.
But the crown jewel of the zoo is Namaste. He is a white tiger from Bengal India. He lives in a large enclosure and while we were there he was pacing off his territory, so he came right up to the fence line.
Namaste is fed at 3:30pm if you want to watch.
There were lots of butterflies. They were busy in courtship and mating.
The children's petting zoo is open on Saturdays 1:30-2:30pm.
The Pana'ewa zoo and gardens are a beautiful place in Hilo to spend time.