A better understanding of the benefits and costs of conservation to people living adjacent to protected areas is fundamental to balancing their conservation goals and needs. This study, based in the Tarangire-Simanjiro ecosystem, explored the costs, benefits and attitudes of local people living adjacent to Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania. In-depth interviews were conducted with 30 respondents which were randomly selected from the ‘population’ of 300 respondents used previously for the main survey. Results indicate mixed responses towards protected areas. The majority of respondents held positive attitudes toward the park (56.7%) and park staff (63.3%) but had negative attitudes toward the Simanjiro Plains (53.3%). Despite the costs of living in proximity to the park, the majority of respondents viewed the park staff more favorably which may contribute towards improved conservation and increased tolerance. The revenue from ecotourism, support for community development projects and wildlife protection were the top three perceived benefits, while crop raiding and livestock depredation, restricted access to the park and clashes with park rangers were the most perceived costs. Binary logistic regression analyses showed that interaction with park staff was the consistent predictor of a positive attitude towards the park, while lack of ecotourism benefits and living in the vicinity of the park were predictors of negative attitudes. Attitudes toward the Simanjiro Plains were significantly positively correlated with overall income sufficiency, while older respondents were more likely to express negative attitudes towards it. Most respondents were willing to support large carnivore conservation despite having problems with them. The findings suggest that interventions aimed at improving positive attitudes towards protected areas should focus on an equitable ecotourism revenue-sharing with adjacent communities, positive interactions with park staff and overall household income sufficiency to win the support of local communities and thus ensure effective conservation of protected areas.