Last week while on a mini vacay, my husband and I visited Council Bluffs, Iowa. As we were getting ready to head toward our destination we began looking into the activities available in that area. While there are many fun and historic things to do between Council Bluffs and Omaha, Nebraska, which is just a few minutes away, we decided to check out a zoo.
The Omaha zoo is known as the, Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. This particular zoo has nineteen exhibits and it can take more than one day to take everything in. During our visit we did not go into the aquarium, theater, children’s adventure area, or the butterfly and insect pavilion. There were also a few different areas that were closed due to renovation. I wish I had known ahead of time that things were under construction, because I missed out on seeing a few of my favorite animals.
During our visit, I did not see any penguins, polar bears (they moved to the Kansas City Zoo), or zebras. I have no idea where the zebras were, but they were not in the enclosure they were supposed to be in according to the map. In some cases, due to the construction, it was unclear as to which animals were normally located in which areas. The zoo is currently adding an Asian Highlands section, but it also appears to be changing other areas as well. I believe there was construction going on in three different sections.
We arrived at the zoo around one o’clock and we were there until close, which was at five o’clock. We very much enjoyed walking through the, Desert Dome, as well as the, Kingdoms of the Night. If you want to take everything in, or try to take everything in, I would suggest you arrive at nine in the morning, when the zoo first opens. Make sure you check the times of the different Visitor Experiences that are available. These events are great learning occasions for children.
As you wander around there are plenty of bathrooms, water fountains, and places to find a snack, or to get out of the sun. Several exhibits are indoors. One of the most interesting things I witnessed was that of the giraffe crossing. This must occur at the same time each day, because the giraffes were lined up at the gate and waiting for the staff to come out and let them into their indoor enclosure. This process can take roughly a half an hour. The staff must open fencing to create a walkway and then the giraffes meander on into the building across the walk from their outdoor pen.
I have not been to a zoo in many years. My experiences are mostly with that of the, Como Zoo, in St. Paul, MN, and the Apple Valley Zoo, in Apple Valley, MN. I greatly enjoyed the Omaha Zoo, even though several areas were under construction. I still took tons of photos and saw a lot of interesting animals. I would definitely recommend this zoo to anyone who is visiting the area, especially if you have children who love animals.
For more information on the, Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, please visit: http://www.omahazoo.com/