Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo was named the best zoo in the world in Trip Advisor’s World’s Best Zoo list in August 2014 and has continued in the top 3 in each list since. Never been to the Henry Doorly Zoo? The zoo focuses on conservation and the exhibits they have built in the last twenty-five years have focused on providing a natural habitat for the animals in their care. According to Isabel Adams, frequent zoo visitor, “The best thing about the zoo is the level of detail in the habitats. It doesn’t feel like the animals are in cages at all.”
Here are the top five reasons why you should go:
The Lied Jungle
One of the first exhibits built around providing animals a natural habitat is still one of the zoo’s best. Enclosed in a hot humid eight-story building, you can walk through three different rainforest environments. The animals in their exhibits look right at home. Monkeys swing from trees while nibbling on oranges, the hippos meander under the lazy river and the parrot cleans its feathers. When you lean out by the waterfall, you can see the bats having their daily nap.
If you need to dry out after the jungle, check out the Desert Dome. Visit three different deserts: Namib Desert of southern Africa, the Red Center of Australia and the Sonoran Desert in the southwest United States. The acrylic panels making up the world’s largest geodesic dome lets the sunshine in but they are quick to point out the desert can be both hot and cold. You’ll find wallabies, bobcats, rattlesnakes and all kinds of reptiles.
Kingdoms of the Night
Underneath the Desert Dome, you’ll find the world’s largest indoor swamp. Part of the Kingdoms of the Night exhibit, it covers quarter of an acre. Test your bravery with bats, alligators and other nightlife. Blind fish swim in a 16 foot deep cave. You’ll also find naked mole rats, aardvarks and bush babies.
Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium
Pet a starfish in the Touch Tank as you first enter the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium. The Aquarium is a zoo highlight. It houses penguins, fish, jellyfish and all kinds of aquatic experiences. A trip through the shark reef tunnel lets you stroll through an underwater wonderland with a close up look at turtles, sharks, stingrays and fish.
One of the newest additions to the zoo’s natural habitat exhibits is the African Grasslands exhibit. Giraffes, elephants, cheetahs and lions roam through the expansive exhibit.
The top five list hits the highlights but there is much more to see, including a walk among the butterflies, Gorilla valley, Orangutan forest and a petting barn. Many of the exhibits have Animal Encounters scheduled each day where you can learn more about the different species. The zoo also has an Imax, which features films on zoology and conservation.
Check out the many things to do and plan your visit.