Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

We had one final day of our vacation before we had to fly home and we still had to drive from Mitchell, South Dakota to Omaha, Nebraska.  We knew it would take us about 4 hours and we hoped to make it to Omaha by lunchtime so we could spend our afternoon at the zoo.

I had heard that the zoo was a "must see" and after having been there we completely agree!  Even though it was a very sunny and brutally hot day we had a great time exploring all this zoo and aquarium had to offer (though we didn't have time to see EVERYTHING we did see most of it).


This zoo is often considered one of the WORLD'S best zoos.  It boasts the largest indoor swamp and indoor rainforest in the world.  It has a desert dome that is also the planet's largest indoor desert under the largest geodesic dome.  It's aquarium is considered the largest aquarium inside of a zoo and the entire complex has over 960 species of aniamls!

We started our day in the jungle.  There was something to see everywhere you looked in this busy rainforest.



Hippos

playful otters
There were quite a few bats around too; which I was not a fan of at all.  We decided to try and cut across the park so we could make the animal feeding and talk at the snow leopard (or sloth bear as we later learned!).



We made it to the sloth bear in time to catch the tail end of their talk and it was a real treat to see these large animals up close to the fence.



We stopped for some water and to take a break from the sun and heat before deciding to just follow the map around the outside edge of the zoo.


The sea lions had lots of little babies with them.




We stopped for an ice cream break and to drink some more water before making our way to the butterfly conservatory.











We headed to the aquarium next.  Part of the entrance was under construction but they had made a path so we could get through.  We stopped to watch the penguin feeding and saw some puffins, sharks, jellyfish, and more.





We spent a bit of time in the Wild Kingdom pavilion too before heading into the geodesic dome.




The paths inside the dome weaved in and out and around and down.. and just seemed to go on forever!









By the time we finished exploring the swamp on the lowest level of the dome the zoo was closing.  We took a quick spin through the gift shop and headed to our hotel for the night.  We were staying at a Best Western (that was technically in Carter Lake, Iowa) and was just minutes away from the airport.  We ate some dinner at a nearby restaurant and went to bed early in preparation for our early morning flight home.

It was a wonderful vacation but we were all ready to get back to our own beds.

Other posts from this trip include:

Driving from Denver to Cheyenne
Where we stayed in the Black Hills
Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Trail
Driving the Needles Highway through Custer State Park
Visiting Mount Rushmore
Our afternoon at the Reptile Gardens 
Hiking Sylvan Lake at Custer State park
Visiting Wall Drug & the Badlands

Comments

  1. What an amazing zoo and you got some really great photos! I love the aquarium and butterflies.

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    Replies
    1. It really was amazing! I can see why it's often rated as the #1 zoo.

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  2. Replies
    1. It was fabulous and we could not believe how many animals we saw.

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  3. I love seeing all the animal :) Lovely photos. #TheWeeklyLinkUp

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  4. Kids love zoos!! Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 6. Shared.

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    1. Mine sure do; well my younger two do anyway. It's fun to see how many new animals each new zoo experience exposes us to.

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  5. We love zoos! Our favorite so far has been the St Louis zoo which is free!!
    www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

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    1. Free?! That's wonderful and sounds like my kind of zoo. :)

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  6. Hi - I'm from Omaha and so glad you enjoyed our zoo. Next time youre here be sure to check out the Jocelyn Art Museum and Fontenelle Forest too! :)

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    1. I'm visiting from one of the linkys from GivingNSharing2. You have a great blog. :)

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    2. We only had a few hours in Omaha but I will be sure to add those other two attractions to my list just in case we make it back there again one day.

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  7. Looks like a lovely day out and so many amazing animals there! We have several really good animal parks near us, but none of them have hippos. There are a few zoos in the UK that keep hippos, but not close enough for a day trip for us. We'll have to travel for it some day, I'd like to see them IRL and I'm pretty sure our son would, too :-) x #MMBC

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    1. We have seen hippos a few times in various zoos; the best viewing of hippos we ever saw was a zoo in Camden, New Jersey. The tank was viewing included underwater views so you could really see the immense size of them.

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  8. I love zoos! Hubby and I go to them all over when we travel. You really got some great pictures!

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    1. I love zoos too; my husband isn't usually a fan of them but he does enjoy aquariums so it was nice that this was sort of a two in one and had something for everyone to enjoy.

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