Just south of Hilo, down a winding, jungle-road, there lies one of our favorite family hang outs:
The Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens.
Once you turn off the main road, drive about a mile and 1/4 til you reach the parking lot and entrance of the zoo. It's about a 5 minute drive from our house, which makes it more than just a hang-out for us; It's almost like a second home!
We love this zoo for so many reasons and come here as much as we can. It's small and cozy, and when we walk in, it feels like we're entering another country, like a rainforest community up in the jungles of India, or a quaint village nestled in the tropics of Brazil. To add to the exotic ambience, the variety of animals kept at this zoo are originally found in rainforests from all around the world, including Hawaii.
Odin took this picture below and wanted to make sure I included it:
I dug up an old photo of two of my siblings and I, posing in front of this very zoo in 1990. Our family had come over for a summer vacation from Oahu, and this was one of our many, adventurous stops. I remember falling in love with this zoo all those years ago, but never thought I would someday be living right here next to it! What a wonderful surprise!