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!
- The newly renovated Aquarium, Lied 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 Park, Sea Lions, Rhinos, and Giraffes.
- At the New 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.
- Babies born in 2013 – Pygmy Hippopotamus, Klipspringer, and in 2012 - 5 Lion Cubs, Aardvark calf, Bongo, fossa pups, king penguin chick, sea lion pup, zebra foal, and giraffe calf.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Winter – Our family loves to visit in the winter! There are many indoor exhibits to enjoy, fewer crowds, and the animals seem to be much more active.
Admission and Special Events
- The zoo pass is a fantastic deal – you get admission to the zoo AND the IMAX theater, and you can add a season pass to the Wildlife Safari Park for only $25! You also receive reciprocal privileges (free or reduced admission) to over 100 zoos nationwide.
- Current Zoo Admission: (See here for other pricing including IMAX theater). You can now also buy tickets online.
- Children (2 and under): FREE
- Children (ages 3 – 11): $10.00
- Adults (ages 12 and over): $15.00
- Seniors (ages 65 and over): $14.00
- Although the zoo does not offer coupons, they occasionally offer a free zoo day during the year such as this past February. (Follow Family Fun in Omaha to keep posted on the latest events!)
- Additional costs – Budgie Encounter ($1.00 for feeding stick), Koi pond ($.25 for food), Tram, Train, Carousel, Skyfari, and IMAX Theater
- Be sure to check the Zoo Calendar to find Special Events held throughout the year to enhance your visit!
- The Infield at the Zoo will honor the legacy of Rosenblatt Stadium with the original location of home plate, ability for kids to run the bases, and become an enjoyable gathering space for visitors. Can’t wait!
What are your favorite tips and helpful hints when visiting the zoo? Please share with other readers so we can all have the best experience!