We love visiting the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha and try to visit at least once a year. It's an easy 2 hour drive from the Des Moines area which makes it a perfect day trip destination. We like spending a weekend in Omaha though and can always find plenty to do to fill our time. This trip started at the zoo. We left our house a little later than planned but still made it to the zoo before 9:30. It had stormed the night before and the forecast suggested a chance of rain, so that may have kept the crowds away. The zoo was the least crowded I have ever seen it.
Our navigator led us toward the zebras first. We like to loop around the back of the zoo first thing. There are usually less people and it's a steep climb on the way up to the rhinos. Down the hill a prairie dog spotted the kids' attention. He was a lot of fun to watch. After this little guy entertained them for a while they spotted the picnic area and could not believe all of the prairie dog mounds.
We were the only ones around around watching the otter and he seemed to love the attention. After that we headed back toward the African Wild Dogs. I was a little disappointed they were all resting far away from the fence this visit. Then my daughter spotted the carousel and we gave in and let them both ride.
After a walk through Bear Canyon, Gorilla Valley and the Orangutan Forest we were all ready for some lunch. That put us right by the Desert Dome & Kingdoms of the Night. Kingdoms of the Night is a must see for anyone visiting the zoo. You walk through in the dark and get to see so many cool nocturnal creatures. Since we don't have armadillos in Iowa I love watching the one at the zoo scurry around. It's always an interesting feeling in the cave atmosphere with the bats flying around too. My daughter loved the bushbabies because they are in one of her favorite books. The swamp area is always cool. It was fun watching one of the beavers swim and pop up out of the water.
The cat complex was next. Several of the tigers were enjoying their lunch of raw meat. The rest of the afternoon was spent at the Aviary, Lemur Islands, Expedition Madasgascar, Giraffes, the Butterfly & Insect Pavillion, the Scott Aquarium and the Desert Dome. The Aquarium is another zoo attraction that should not be missed. It was also recently renovated. It's fun to watch sharks swim over your head or checking out the underside of a sting-ray.
We ended our day at the Lied Jungle. T. loved going across the rope bridge and feeling the spray of the waterfall.
We were all pretty exhausted by the time we left the zoo, but we still had more to do! I couldn't believe how much we had packed in that day. It was the first time we left feeling like we had seen it all. Maybe it's because our kids are getting older and can handle more or maybe it was because of the light crowds. Either way I've decided that October is an awesome time of the year to visit Omaha and we may be traveling during this time again next year.
You can learn more by visiting Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium to plan your next trip.
Thanks to the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau for making this review possible!