Omaha Zoo must be one of the most impressive zoos we’ve ever had the honour to visit. Technically, there may be more remarkable zoos, but this one stood out because it was so different from what we’ve ever seen before.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo
Omaha Zoo has the strangest animals, many we’ve never seen before. Animals from all over the world, including giant Japanese salamanders, were surprisingly delightful to see. We’ve been to so many zoos that we thought we knew what to expect, but Omaha Zoo surpassed our expectations and I’m just so glad we decided to spend a day there.
My personal favourites were the insanely cute little armadillos and as always, the primates. The gorillas and orangutans looked happy in their impressively lush indoor and outdoor living space and many were snuggling with newborns.
Actually seeing the elusive snow leopard was a definite highlight and the 3D ocean movie we watched was fun.
The Lied Jungle, one of the largest indoor rainforests in the world, was fantastic with free-flying and roosting fruit bats. different kinds of tapirs, pigmy hippo, porcupine gibbons, birds of the Amazon, piranha and exotic amazon fish I’d rather not meet up close.
It feels like a real jungle, humid with waterfalls, dense foliage, rope bridges and vines thick enough to swing in.
The aquarium is brilliant with interactive stations and kid-friendly things to do on top of a large variety of sea life. You can touch and feel different starfish at the aquarium, which the kids enjoyed. We sat in the ocean tunnel walkthrough for quite a while, just to enjoy the peaceful water world around us and rest weary legs.
A perk of homeschooling is that you can travel in the off-season. While all the other kids are in school. And you get to go to attractions on weekdays. When all the other kids are in school.
Look! No queues. Hee-hee.
Our Favorite Exhibits At Omaha Zoo
Our top exhibits are the Desert Dome and Kingdoms Of The Night.
Watch out when you enter the dark wet cave. There’s a large black water hole close to the entrance with no fence or anything to stop you from falling in. It’s creepy because it’s home to blind cavefish and it’s 16ft deep. Hold on to the little ones.
Oh my goodness! The swamp exhibit in Kingdoms Of The Night was amazing. We couldn’t take photos inside the swamp, but it’s one place I won’t easily forget.
Omaha Zoo boasts the largest indoor swamp in the world, and it was just awesome to walk through it. We saw a colossal crocodile and a white alligator, one of only ten in the world! The swamp is such an unreal site that at first, we thought the white alligator was fake until it moved, just as a gigantic alligator snapping turtle showed up.
I think it was an alligator snapping turtle, but seriously, a giant turtle gaped at us with its mouth wide open, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I was transfixed, staring into its pre-historic beak.
Alligator Snapping Turtles are amongst the largest and heaviest freshwater turtles in the world. They are native to the southeastern parts of the US, and they can apparently get close to two hundred years old!
The beaver lodge was grand too. It’s set up in such a way that you can see the beaver family grooming each other inside the den in the tree from close up. The kids found it fascinating to watch the beavers go in and out of the den through the water hole.
The facilities are excellent, as expected, and cater well to families. It’s easy to get around with a buggy/stroller in the broad and clearly marked walkways. We were never far from a restroom or a place to eat, so there are plenty of food options available.
Meals were expensive at $11 for a platter, which consisted of a basic burger, fries and a soda. The entrance fee was $60 for our family of five. The 3D movies cost $6 p/p.
The animals in the outdoor exhibits strangely looked a bit tired or bored compared to other zoos we’ve visited. Maybe it was the weather or just that time of day?
They have world-class exhibits with many learning and discovery centres to engage minds of all ages with the natural world, focusing on the critical topic of nature conservation, the big American way!
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is a great zoo and one of the best in the world. We highly recommend a full-day visit to see everything.
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Omaha Zoo Exhibits List
Here’s a list of all the exhibits you’ll find at Omaha Zoo with links to the zoo’s website for further reference.
- Owen Sea Lion Shores – Opening Fall 2020
- Asian Highlands
- Scott African Grasslands
- Bay Family Children’s Adventure Trails
- Dick and Mary Holland Meadowlark Theater
- Desert Dome
- Mahoney Kingdoms of the Night
- Lied Jungle
- Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium
- Berniece Grewcock Butterfly and Insect Pavilion
- Hubbard Expedition Madagascar
- Hubbard Gorilla Valley
- Hubbard Orangutan Forest
- Owen Sea Lion Pavilion
- Other Exhibits