Yes, Omaha is a Great Place to Visit!

An overview of what Omaha has to offer.

Henry Doorly Zoo

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kyrie2005 on October 2, 2006

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo was selected by Family Fun magazine as the best family zoo in the country a few years ago, and I think they have the right idea. Located in the Midwest, the zoo has to contend with at least 5 months of cooler, if not COLDER weather, and it has developed some attractions that makes this zoo attractive year-round. There is the Leid Jungle, a two-level indoor tropical rainforest. My kids love it—birds and monkeys roam free, and many animals can be seen in their natural habitats, not cages. In the middle of the winter, it is always a treat to take a walk in the balmy tropical humidity. The Desert Dome and the Kingdom of the Night exhibits share space in a huge Geodisic dome—the Kingdoms of the night is like taking a trip in a huge underground cave—it takes a while for your eyes to adjust to the dark, but once you do—wow! You see bats and other nocturnal animals in their own homes. There is a replica of a swamp, complete with a shack and alligators. The desert dome is just that—an indoor replica of a desert habitat. There is a gorilla exhibit that is enclosed too. Another feather in the Zoo's cap is the aquarium—there is a really neat penguin exhibit, and an underwater tunnel running through an immense fish tank—sharks, rays and other fish surround you as you walk through it. It is really a work of art.

During the summer, there are also all kinds of great outdoor exhibits - too many to list in a 500 word essay.
It is not the easiest zoo to navigate with small children, though. A lot of walking is involved in a visit there, and there are many steep hills. There is a tram, however, that is available—as of right now, it costs 25 cents to travel from one stop to the next—definitely worth it if you have little ones and a stroller. Admission to the zoo costs no more than a family trip to the movies (speaking of movies, there is an IMAX theater there too - what a way to embellish an already great experience!) This zoo is wonderful, for Omaha natives and tourists alike!

Henry Doorly Zoo
3701 South 10th St
Omaha, Nebraska, 68107
(402) 733-8400

River City Star

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by kyrie2005 on October 4, 2006

Yeah, I know...taking a riverboat cruise up and down the "Muddy Mo" sounded a little questionable to me, too. After all, all you are looking at are the borders of Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa. A couple of casinos, some business buildings, and the like. But I figured, what the was a beautiful day down on the Omaha Riverfront, and the kids were asking to do it. And let me tell you, I was very pleasantly surprised.

Public Sightseeing cruises are every Sunday at 1pm. You purchase a ticket at the dock—tickets are $12 for a one hour trip ($8 for kids 12 and under). The boat cruises up and down the river, and the scenery is really pretty nice. Once you move past the commercial buildings, the banks of the river are covered in trees and plants, and the sight of fishermen and families playing on the beaches is really reminiscent of more innocent times. My kids loved the fact that there are different levels on the boat and spent a lot of time running up and down the stairs checking the river out from different elevations. There is a bar onboard should you want something to drink, whether it be a beer or a soda.
All in all, we had a really nice time. I definitely recommend doing it once.

River City Star
151 Freedom Park Rd.
Omaha, Nebraska, 68102
(402) 342-7827

Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by kyrie2005 on October 6, 2006

Halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, NE, just off of I-80 at the Ashland Exit, you can find an annex of the Henry Doorly Zoo—The Lee Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari. It's kind of a Drive-through version of the zoo, without the lions and tigers (there are bears, oh my, but they are in an enclosed area so there is nothing to fear!) Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids under 12. The road winds its way through plains full of elk and buffalo - they can come pretty close to the car. There is a wetlands area where you can come face to face with a crane and other beautiful animals. If staying in the car the whole way sounds kind of boring, there is a hiking trail to Wolf Canyon, another fenced in area where the (guess what) wolves live. We were there at feeding time, so we got pretty close to the bears and the wolves. It's a really neat and different way to spend a few hours on the weekend. There are often special activities—my kids really liked the presentation on the wetlands this summer.
Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari
16406 292nd St.
Omaha, Nebraska, 68003
(402) 944-9453

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