Helpful Tips for Visiting the Omaha Zoo!


*Updated 2015.

The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is one of the best family attractions in the United States (recently named the #1 Zoo in the Country on TripAdvisor), and we are lucky enough to have it right here in Omaha!  We have a zoo pass and go about 2-3 times each month.  My kids love it, and we always feel like we are on vacation when we visit the zoo!

Be sure to plan a full day to see the zoo.  There is plenty of free parking, and two entrances in the summer.  The most popular exhibits are located near the main entrance (at the top of the hill).  Enjoy!

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  • The newly renovated AquariumLied Jungle (with two levels, offering unique perspectives), Desert Dome, Kingdoms of the Night (below the Desert Dome), and Gorilla Valley are the must-see sights on your visit.
  • Other wonderful exhibits include the Aviary (the world’s second largest free-flight aviary), Bear Canyon (especially during feeding time), and the Butterfly Pavilion (have to park stroller outside).  We also always enjoy visiting the Cat Complex, Red Barn ParkSea Lions, Rhinos, and Giraffes.
  • At the Fossil Dig Site, children can use provided shovels and buckets to dig for fossils in rubber mulch, which is great for digging in without the mess of sand.
  • The IMAX Theater currently has 3 different shows daily, scheduled each hour.  Zoo members receive Free IMAX tickets – stop by the IMAX Box Office to pick up your tickets on each visit.  It is recommended to pick up or purchase your tickets early even for the later shows, since new releases often sell out.  See current shows and schedule here.
  • The Infield at the Zoo honors the legacy of Rosenblatt Stadium with the original location of home plate, ability for kids to run the bases, and is an enjoyable gathering space for visitors.

What to Bring

  • Visitors are welcome to bring a lunch (highly recommended), and there are plenty of covered picnic areas to eat.  Bags, coolers and wagons are allowed, but no glass containers or alcohol.
  • Sunscreen, water, and good walking shoes since there are quite a few hills.
  • Strollers – If you have little ones, it is a good idea to bring a smaller stroller for when they get tired (since there is a lot of walking).  This will be easier to navigate in the indoor attractions which may be crowded.  You can take the stroller with you in all exhibits, except for the Butterfly Pavilion.

Visiting Year-Round

  • Summer – Arrive early.  On particularly hot days, do your walking while it is cool, then visit indoor exhibits.  The Kingdoms of the Night, Aquarium, Gorilla Valley, Expedition Madagascar, and Wild Kingdom Pavilion are great places to cool off and enjoy the air-conditioning.  There are also spray misters set up around the zoo to help stay cool.

Admission and Special Events

  • Although the zoo does not offer coupons, they occasionally offer a free zoo day during the year (usually in the Winter months).  (Follow Family Fun in Omaha to keep posted on the latest events!)

Other Helpful Resources:

We hope you have a wonderful visit to the Omaha Zoo and Aquarium!

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Share Your Thoughts

  1. says

    Great tips! When we visited it took a whole day to see everything, and on the way out we walked past the jungle and said “its time to go, that doesnt look very cool anyway” only to learn that wouldve been the highlight of the visit! Got to get back for the jungle :)

    • says

      Glad you loved the zoo! Yes, you definitely have to come back to the Jungle – one of my families’ favorites of the entire zoo!