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Travel ( The Dehiwala Zoo )

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Both adults and youngers will enjoy a few hours at this zoo. Cap the day by watching a performance of dancing elephants.

The Dehiwala Zoo is one of the finest in Asia and its sprawling ares are host to a variety of animals and birds. Drive 6 miles from Colombo, south along the Galle Road. Turn left at Allen Avenue, Dehiwala, and follow the signposta.

It is pleasing to see many animals in their natural habitat. Whether it be lions, bears, tigers, rhinos, giraffes or gorillas, there is a greater freedom here than in many zoos around the world. The sight of painted storks fishing in the pond or screeching macaws ruffling their bright feathers immediately puts any visitor at ease.

In the Reptile House you will find a rare albino cobra and an enormous python. Watch out for the little tortoises which take piggy-back rides on the backs of ferocious crocodiles. The zoo also has an excellent collection of primates.

Do not miss the 500 varieties of marine life at the Mini Medura, constructed with children in mind who dart around the exhibit like the fish in the tanks. The Nocturnal House allows visitors to see creatures like owls and lemurs in their natural habitat.

The highlight of the zoo is the elephant circus which comes on daily at 5.15 pm, withextra shows on Sunday and holidays at 3.15pm. The huge pachyderms perform all sorts of antics like standing on their heads, wiggling their backs to music, hopping on one foot and standing up on their hind legs.

When the biggest of the elephants begins to play a soundless mouth organ, the older elephants start skipping and trooping behind. There is an exciting moment when an elephant places a foot on the mahout's stomach and lifts him by the head using its mouth. The end of the performance signals a mass exodus from the zoo. It's best to get your bearings to the exit so that you can quickly make your way out and catch a taxi back to Colombo.

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