On our 4th day in Sri Lanka we woke up early to make it to the elephant orphanage for feeding time. The orphanage was about an hour from where we were staying- and we took a lovely drive via back roads thru small villages. The elephant orphanage is quite large- and home to some 80+ elephants of varying ages. They charge around $20US for admission, another $5 to take your camera and $2.50 to bottle feed an elephant. We paid to bring our cameras in, but to be honest- no one checked whether we had paid or not. I would strongly recommend not paying extra for the bottle feeding. You basically crowd around a coral and get in line to feed 2 elephants, and the whole thing takes less then 30 seconds for them to finish the bottle. You would be better just to take photos of someone else doing it, or opt for the breastfeeding option. Just kidding. This will promptly get you escorted off the property.
Most of the elephants are roaming in the feeding area in the morning. You can interact with them to some degree. The elephants are separated from the people by a barrier of rocks with signs stating to not go beyond this area. Lucky for us the elephants could not read, and while we were there 2 young ones tried to make a break for it. We were like a bunch of teenage girls ooohing and ahhhhhing over them until their trainers caught wind of their plan, and yelled them back behind the barrier. It was a really amazing experience. You can get great photos with the elephants- but expect to be hassled for tips for every posed photo you get. Some of the elephants are chained and we weren't sure if this was because they were dangerous, or just new and in training. Either way it was hard to see them like that.