Situated at the center of the Cultural Triangle, Minneriya is a good alternative to the busier parks in the south and it's easy to weave in a day here between visiting the ancient cities. The dry season, from June to September, is the best time to visit the 8,890 hectare park when the ancient tank that dominates the area dries out and the grasses and shoots push through. During this time it is possible to see herds of up to 150 elephants feeding and washing, as well as toque macaques, sambar deer and leopards. The hungry bird flocks include cormorants and painted storks. Minneriya, closest by car to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, was upgraded from a Nature Reserve to a National Park because of the increased number of tourists coming to see the elephants.