One of the topmost attraction in Omaha, Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is famous for its structure and number of species it is accommodating. Scatterd over 130 Acres it's simply huge making it difficult to cover whole area in a day. So generally you need to go twice or thrice to see everything out there. Since I have been there multiple times, it's easy for a person like me to cover most of it as I know which area is designated for what.
Zoo is divided into multiple sections and they keep adding sections, so I have listed my top 10 picks from the zoo :-
1. Lied Jungle – It’s my favorite section of the zoo. Setup of this area is of a rain forest jungle with waterfall, lots of green trees, ponds and exotic animals like squirrel monkey, bearded monkey, tapir, birds, bats , stingrays, alligator, snakes (Anaconda too), tortoise, hippos and many more. As soon as you enter the area, you can feel the humidity and noisy atmoshphere of rain forest. It’s an awesome simulation of the rain forest.
2. Desert dome – It’s the first thing you will notice about the zoo. Dome is beautiful and big architecture wise and you can notice it from the highway. As the name suggests, dome is full of dessert animals like Kangaroo, birds, bobcat, fox, meerkats, goats, insects (spiders, scorpions etc ) and desert plants. One will get the chance to understand life in deserts. Simply the best.
3. Kingdom of the night – At the exit of Desert dome, on the right side you will find this section. Reason I mentioned directions is that I missed this place in each of my earlier visits. You might have already guessed, this portion is designed for our night loving animals. It’s build is very unique with low lights, setup like a wreckage and bridges to move from one point to another. There are alligators, caimans, fishes, turtles, bats, tarsiers and many more. You have to see very closely to the life there due to deep darkness.
4. Butterfly and insect pavallian – This section is undoubtly most beautiful among all, visitor gets chance to be in environment with lots of beautiful butterflies flying around. There are fruits kept for them, you can observe them sitting on fruits and sometimes they sit on you, One has to be very cautious not to run over them. At the exit there is portion of different kind of insects like crickets, worms, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, roaches, bugs and such others. You will also see the butterfly cocoons under supervision of staff members.
5. Asian Highlands – This is the new addition to the zoo, opened in 2019 for public. It is scattered in huge space with Asian animals like black bear, snow leopard, tiger, cranes, goats, red panda (cutest among all), rhino etc. They have setup this area beautifully with the aroma of Asian culture; old temple structures and yeti area (restaurant and great for selfies). Really a nice addition.
6. African savanna – This one is the habitat of exotic African animal kingdom. There are big enclosures for African Lions, Cheetahs, Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras, Rhinos, Antelopes and Deer. Visitors will definitely loved this area due to all those big powerful animals. There is also a restaurant in the area.
7. Scott aquarium – This section is also very popular among tourists. Aquarium is big with all sea creatures that includes Dolphins, Whales, Sharks, Tortoises, all sizes of fishes, Sea horse, Jelly Fishes and such. Most beautiful place is the aquatic glass panel pathway with all sort of fishes and creatures swimming in the surroundings. That’s the most amazing experience one can have. Make sure not to miss this section during your visit.
8. Wild kingdom – Just at the entrance of zoo is this tiny section called Wild Kingdom. They have snakes, spiders, frogs, fishes, mice , some educational stuff and few animal skeletons.
9. Gorilla valley – This is something no visitor should miss. I am sure everyone loves Gorillas, so here is the treat. This whole section is for Gorillas along with educational stuff that involves puzzles, questions and skeletons of Gorillas. You will definitely love to see powerful creature and it’s close resemblance to human beings.
10. Orangutans enclosure – Just in front of Gorilla Valley is this section which is home to many Orangutans. They are so cute and human like that you will simply love watching them. Kids will definitly love the place.
That’s not all. Listed ones are the majpr sections/ my favorites in the Zoo, Other than this there is Lemur island, Simmons aviary, Madagascar expedition, Sea Lion pavilion and various kids related activities along with many sculptures for photos and selfies.
Few important points :-
- There are 3 restaurants in the Zoo along with vending machines and ice cream shops
- There is train facility as well to cover the zoo, tickets need to be purchased inside zoo.
- Trams are also there but only for a certain distance. You need to invest some time in line to get the tickets.
- Zoo timing is 9AM - 5PM every day.
- Try to reach there 1/2 hour before 9AM, parking is a big problem there.
If you are visiting Omaha , this place must be top on your list. :)
Happy Reading ! Keep Traveling !!!
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