Get your fill of unique animal life at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. From cats to bears to marine life, the zoo is a place you can visit again and again for new adventures.
The animals are lively and happy. The zoo provides tons of experiences for seeing them up close and the grounds of this zoo are gorgeous! In a nutshell, the Henry Doorly Zoo is probably the most amazing zoo I have ever visited.
Here are a few highlights my family particularly enjoyed:
Enclosed under a glazed geodesic dome is the plant and animal life from three deserts around the globe:
- The Namib Desert of Southern Africa
- The Red Center of Australia
- The Sonoran Desert in the southwest United States
Visitors walk through these recreations feeling the heat, getting close to the plant life and watching the animals interact with both. It did not feel like a typical zoo visit, it was so much more because it took visitors from being observers to residents of the dome.
THE WORLD'S LARGEST NOCTURNAL EXHIBIT
Beneath the desert is Kingdoms of the Night, the world's largest nocturnal exhibit. We ventured through a wet cave, checking out stalagmites and stalactites. We saw short-tailed fruit bats can be seen flying around. We wandered past parma wallabies and a short-beaked echidna and walked
alongside an Australian stream, full of freshwater crocodiles, turtles and fish.
The world's largest indoor swamp is also located in the Kingdoms of Night. A 160,000 gallon, 1/4 acre mysterious swamp with a boardwalk with a Trapper's Cabin, a beaver lodge, cypress trees and 38 swamp animal species in barrier-free habitats. Nine adult American alligators including a white, leucistic alligator on loan from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans live in the swamp. This thing is really quite a sight!
HUBBARD GORILLA VALLEY
The gorillas roam free in this habitat and much to our surprise, they get pretty close to the window where the visitors peer in. We've never been so close to such magnificent beasts and I doubt we ever will be again! They were extraordinary to hang out with!
We shelled out a little extra ($9 for the three in our party) to ride the Skyfari, enjoying treetop views of this amazing zoo traveling from the African Grasslands to the Butterfly and Insect Pavilion.
I just wish we'd had more time to explore the zoo grounds because we really just scratched the surface of the place. I highly recommend this spectacular zoo!
We've visited a few times and just love the zoo! It's set up nicely so that you can see a lot in a short time and without a ton of walking. You have to visit the various buildings - there's a rainforest building which is just amazing (we had lunch here and watched the monkeys swinging thru trees), a desert dome (very interesting!), the penguin building is also a must see and near the front of the zoo.
We also enjoyed the ariel chairs that allow you to travel over the animals in the African area (we have never seen a rhino that close - he was right under us). If you walk the whole zoo, it will take a while becasuse the back area is quite expansive, but there's also a tram you can ride to save some walking.
And my youngest loved the carousel. As with most zoos, food is not great so we bring out own snacks and lunch. And if you have young kids, a stroller is a must! Also check the guide for some of the animal feedings and keeper talks as they were really informative for our oldest.
I grew up going to this zoo, and now that we live in NY - whenever I am back in the city we make a point of visiting. My daughter loves the animal exhibits, the fun activities that are hands-on, and especially the aquarium (so does my husband!). You can easily spend an entire day here (there are restaurants and picnic areas), or just a few hours visiting your favorite exhibits. I have visited zoos all over the U.S. - and this is still the best I've been to!
I personally can't stand going to the zoo. I'm the odd one out who occasionally draws the short straw. So once in awhile I have to walk around and see smelly creatures. This is the zoo to do it. Walking from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned building is the best way to enjoy the zoo. The aquarium is very beautiful: so blue and sharks swimming right over head. The children always enjoy seeing the jelly fish, too.
There's a desert dome and a rain forest. Even I look forward to a visit.
If you read my review's you know I am most interested in interactive experiences and scavenger hunts. These things keep my child (and the kids we take with us) engaged and excited. The Henry Doorly Zoo wins my greatest respect for providing both!
When you arrive make sure to stop just inside the main gate to pick up the scavenger hunt guide (the kids will check off certain animals, fill info about how many of something they see, or fill in a fact/answer a question. These are fun and keep the kids racing to the next exhibit when they would normally start to flag.
There are 3 exhibits that are worth seeing if you have limited time, all by the main gate: the Desert Dome (including the desert kingdom and Kingdoms of the Night), Scott Aquarium, and the Lied Jungle. My son thought the Kingdoms of the Night was amazing, especially the cave. We were lucky enough to catch the feeding of the penguins in the aquarium (make sure to ask at the main gate when feeding times are of the penguins, because it is amazing to see). The underwater archway in the aquarium was amazing too. The Lied Jungle is newer and the rainforest exhibit. Not all parts of this one is stroller friendly (like the rope bridge) so keep that in mind. There is a butterfly and insect house next to the aquarium. On busy days this can have quite a wait time, but is worth it if you child has never been in one before (it is very large).
Like most zoos, the food is quick service quality, even at the cafe and generally overpriced. There are restrooms throughout the zoo and they are well marked both on the map and in signs around the zoo. The parking is free and there is plenty. The zoo itself is stroller friendly (with elevators in exhibit areas when needed). This zoo has a petting zoo part as well, which I think is a nice touch more and more zoos are adding to their parks. The skyfari is very cool, there is an extra fee, but it is totally worth it since it takes you over animal exhibits. There is also a tram and train, also at extra fees. The zoo offers an all day ride pass for $13 at the writing of this review, this pass is good for all the rides and the carousel, so we thought it was worth it. The zoo also has an imax. We spend one and half days here and never got to the imax because we loved the exhibits so much.
Animal presentations are offered at different exhibits throughout the day during the summer months. There is no extra charge and these are very cool, we caught as many as we could.
Many of the exhibits are indoors, so even if the weather outside is bad (whether too hot, rainy, or cold) there is still more than a days worth to enjoy at this zoo.
We can not wait to go back! We are big zoo people and this zoo is our number 1 favorite.
There is a Comfort Inn literally just down the street, which is nice enough (rooms with couch beds, rollaways available too, small indoor pool). If you want to go all out there is a Coco Key in the Ramada just minutes down I-80 from the zoo.
The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo is filled with tons of animals and other fun attractions. There is a Skyfari, which is basically a ski lift, taking you over parts of the zoo. There is a wonderful aquarium, desert, jungle, butterfly pavilion and now a Madagascar unit. The kids will have a blast and so will you. Be prepared to walk, as some parts of the zoo are hilly. Parking is pretty good. There is also an IMAX that shows a few different shows.
The Henry Doorly Zoo is very large and filled with many animal exhibits and things to see. It is definitely an all-day sort of place to visit, and you'll spend a lot of time walking around and viewing all of the animals. It's a great place to take kids who love animals, and is much larger than many of the zoos in the surrounding area. The set-up of the zoo is very attractive, and it's definitely a nice place to spend a day.
We have visited the Henry Doorly Zoo a handful of times over the past few years, and we are never disappointed. My daughter loves the penguin exhibit! There are many winding hills and trails to follow, and you could easily spend a day there and not see it all. The newer skylift that carriers visitors over the zoo is really neat. Lots of places to stop and grab a bite to eat or drink. It seems like they are constantly trying to improve with new exhibits and attractions!
Parking can be tough, but it is worth the trouble. My family goes at least once a year. Everyone from age 15 to 49 loves it! (Plus parking should be better in the years to come!) The zoo host birthday parties as well as educational overnight stays. Constantly upgrading animal habitats, this zoo is among the best we have ever attended. At times you will wonder who is on display, the animals or the humans.
The Henry Doorly Zoo is a gigantic zoo that contains lots of fun for families, couples, parties, etc. Most of the exhibits are outside which allows for a breath of fresh air as well as less crowding. Their exhibits like the Desert Dome are extremely entertaining and would be a great visit for anyone. If you go to this zoo you will regret spending any money on the other zoos out there. This zoo is Amazing!
Do not go to this zoo. You'll be spoiled and every other zoo will seem plain an boring to you. This is THE BEST zoo I've ever visited. My daughter loved it and really enjoyed the time she spent there. From art you can crawl on to bubbles that allow you to 'sit' inside the gorilla enclosure - this is one heck of a zoo.
This zoo has so many exhibits available for all ages and interests. The new butterflies exhibit is so much fun, they are all around you and landing on you. For kids a little older the desert dome and kingdom of the night exhibits are for them, especially boys because there are bats, wild cats, and nocturnal crocodiles. Expect to do a lot of walking so if your child needs breaks or a stroller, I would highly recommend bringing it with. Expect to be there all day because there is more than enough to do. Hot days are awful for the zoo, but if you go bring a lot of sunscreen and expect to buy many bottles of water. An overcast day or nice fall day is best. Cameras are allowed so make sure to pack those. Nap sacks for moms are recommended to your hands are free, kids could easily get lost here due to extreme excitement. Also, another exhibit I forgot to mention was the Aquarium, there is a tunnel underneath a huge tank of stingrays, sharks and other salt water sea creatures. Then of course you'll have to stop by the petting zoo so kids can get to feed the goats. Bring many quarters because there are plenty of stops that include feeding the animals. My family goes just about every year and it never gets old because there is always something new to look forward to.
I LOVE this zoo. It has so much to offer. You could spend two full days here and still not see it all. The aquarium is so neat. There is a small walk-through portion where the aquarium is on all sides of you. They have tons of different animals and beautiful grounds. It is just a great zoo!
We think this is one of the best, if not THE best zoo in the Midwest for kids and adults. There's a huge range of exhibits and animals. Stroller accessibility is great and there are a ton of activities for kids! it's super easy to find with lots of parking. We especially liked the aviary and penguins. A MUST-DO activity if you're in the Omaha area with kids!
I loved this zoo! From the moment you walk in-the butterfly pavilion, the jungle with monkeys sitting on the hand rails, wow! Kids will love the petting zoo. You can learn how to milk a cow there! The zoo is set up nicely, very walker friendly. The aquarium is awesome.
The most wonderful thing about the Henry Doorly Zoo is how incredibly kid friendly the environment is. They do a lot of activities with the kid's portion of IPTV, which is really exciting for the little ones. The long lines make for angry kids though.
This zoo is my all-time favorite! We literally had to pry my brothers out here!! Between the butterfly garden (my personal favorite) and the aquarium (where you get to see sharks swim right above you! The price is a bit high but for all it includes, defintely worth it!
This is easily the best zoo that I have visited yet. The Lied Jungle is so neat, with a swinging bridge that goes under a waterfall. And the aquarium is awesome. It is in a Z shape and as you walk through it you can see the sharks and other sea life moving over head! We arrived @ 9:30 am, just after opening and had front row parking. We didn't even leave until after 6pm!! Bring your camera and definitaly tennis shoes! Loved the indoor/outdoor exhibits that each animal has. Perfect.
This is one of our favorite places to visit whenever we go to Omaha! There is something for everyone...from the Aquarium to the Jungle to the Desert dome to the Butterfly Pavilion to the Underground "Creatures of the Night", this zoo is sure to please! The new Skyfari attraction is very fun and worth the extra few dollars it costs. Plan on spending a full day here when you go because there is so much to see and do!
We've visited here many times with all five of our children ages 0-8. It is truly a gem of the Midwest in terms of the amount and quality of exhibits. If you have lots of little ones (and want to see everything) you will want to schedule two days to visit.
*this is a place you will definitely want to plan out if you only have a half day or if your children (or feet) get tired easily - LOTS of walking!!
*plan to spend at least three hours (a whole day, or two days if you want to see the whole thing)
*must-sees for young kids if you only have a half day are the jungle, underwater world, their choice of cats/monkeys/elephants/desert animals, and probably the petting area (you could skip the swamp and bat cave - they scare at least one of our children each time and our children are quite brave)
*grab a map or look at it online before you go
*a stroller is a MUST with little ones (they do rent them)
*no strollers allowed in the butterfly garden so bring a bike lock for it if you're worried it will get stolen
*it gets busy a LOT so try to go early
*if you want to eat at the cafe, plan for an early or late lunch as it can get very crowded around noon
*keep an eye on any energetic children, as there are a few places where they could get in trouble if they decide to climb a vine or jump a fence