The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best zoos and we’re fortunate to live just two-ish hours away.
The day we visited ended up being one of the hottest days of the year – A high of 103 degrees!
Despite the heat, we all had a great time. Below is a summary and some photos from our trip. After that I listed some helpful tips to help you navigate your visit to the world renown zoo!
Our family’s favorites:
- Etta: Everything, haha!
- Lake: Cheetah
- T: Gorillas and baby elephants
- Me: Penguins! I also love the walk-through tunnel in the aquarium
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The baby elephants were ridiculously cute! (Check out this adorable video of them)
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We had lunch at Durham TreeTops Restaurant. It’s located next to the Lied Jungle and it was neat to watch the animals while we ate.
Towards the end of our visit, we headed over to Children’s Adventure Trails, which is an interactive site where kids can learn and explore through play in nature and outdoor adventure. I see a lot of “natural playscapes” these days – well this is the mothership, as it spawns five acres!
In addition to multiple interactive play areas and structures, there’s a large water stream, bridges, log crossings, waterfall, green space and sandy banks with shovels and pails available for use. For kids in strollers, they have a “Stroller Coaster,” which features inclines and textured surfaces.
The centerpiece of Children’s Adventure Trails is a huge treehouse with a slide, bridge and climbing nets.
There’s a nice baby care station and family restroom located at the Children’s Adventure Trails. That’s where we got the girls changed into their swimsuits before heading over to Alaskan Adventure where we ended the day.
As you can tell from these photos – Lake had a blast at Alaskan Adventure!
Both Alaskan Adventure and The Children’s Adventure Trails are included with regular admission or membership. I would recommend planning for the Alaskan Adventure and/or the Children’s Adventure Trails to be the last stop before leaving the zoo. Don’t forget swimsuits, towels and a change of clothes!
All tuckered out from a super fun day!
Omaha Zoo Tips
BEFORE YOU GO:
- Be sure to check out the zoo’s Web site and/or social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) to be up to date on current zoo and exhibit hours and special events.
- Sign up for the Omaha Savings Pack to save money on your zoo visit. (As I’m writing this, the current discount is $2 off admission for up to six people). By signing up you’ll also receive discounts at other family-friendly Omaha attractions like the Omaha Children’s Museum, Wildlife Safari Park and more!
- It can be helpful to buy your tickets ahead of time online.
- Monday-Thursday are less busy days.
- Go early. Whether it’s to beat the heat or crowds, or both.
- The zoo offers free parking.
- Read the zoo’s ‘Know Before You Go’ as well as information on the Exhibits and Attractions.
- Be sure to plan a full day (or two!) to have enough time. The zoo is huge and there’s a lot to see and do.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable walking shoes for everyone.
- Sunscreen. Be sure to re-apply when needed.
- Food/Snacks. Visitors are welcome to bring in outside food and beverages. The only exceptions are glass bottles and alcohol. If it’s hot, bring a cooler for storage.
- Water/Water bottle(s). There are water filling stations throughout the zoo – typically next to restrooms.
- Strollers/Wagon. The zoo is massive and there’s a lot of walking, so if you have little ones it’s a good idea to bring a stroller or wagon. (This is the double stroller we used).
- Swimsuit/Towel/Extra clothes – Bring these items if you plan on going to the Alaskan Adventure, which is a large splash ground – (See photos above).
- Upon entering, stop and check out the “Today at the Zoo” board near the Main Gate and Gift Shop.
- If you visit on a hot day, do outdoor exploring/activities in the morning and indoor exploring/activities in the afternoon.
- If you’re using a stroller, I highly recommend this fan. As I mentioned above, we went on a very hot day (a high of 103) and in addition to the stroller’s umbrellas, they really helped the girls stay cool. We were surprised at how many compliments we received about the fans!
- Speaking of heat, there are spray misters set up around the zoo to help stay cool. They felt wonderful on a hot and humid day!
- There are snack stands located throughout the zoo, but when we were there (on a Monday in June), they were all closed.
- It’s hilly in some areas – especially walking from Adventure Trail to the Main Gate.
- There are gift shop kiosks located around the zoo, but the biggest (and best) is located near the Main Gate.
- Note that some attractions have an additional cost.
- Consider visiting in the winter or off-season. A good portion of the exhibits are indoors and there are fewer crowds.
- If you plan on visiting the zoo often, consider getting a membership.
I hope all of these tips helped! If you’ve been to the Omaha Zoo, leave a comment below letting me know your favorite exhibit!