The Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo is a zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, located at 3701 South 10th Street. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). Its mission is conservation, research, recreation, and education.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo is nationally renowned for its leadership in animal conservation and research. Evolving from the public Riverview Park Zoo established in 1894, today the Zoo includes several notable exhibits. It features the largest cat complex in North America; "Kingdoms of the Night" is the world's largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp; the Lied Jungle is one of the world's largest indoor rainforest, and the "Desert Dome" is the world's largest indoor desert, as well as the largest glazed geodesic dome in the world. The Zoo is Nebraska’s number one paid attendance attraction and has welcomed more than 25 million visitors over the past 40 years.
The zoo originally began in 1894 as Riverview Park Zoo. Four years later it had over 120 animals. In 1952, the Omaha Zoological Society was created with aims to improve the zoo. In 1963, Margaret Hitchcock Doorly donated $750,000 (approximately $4.5 million in 2005 dollars). In doing so, she stipulated that the zoo be renamed in memory of her late husband, Henry Doorly, chairman of the World Publishing Company. Union Pacific helped the zoo lay down 2.5 miles (4.0 km) of track in 1968 with the inaugural run of the Omaha Zoo Railroad made on July 22, 1968.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo has two rides that circumnavigate the zoo and a carousel. Opened in 2009, Skyfari, an aerial tram takes visitors from the Butterfly and Insect Pavilion to Elephants and Rhinos for a new view of the Zoo.
The zoo is adjacent to Rosenblatt Stadium, home of the College World Series and the Triple-A Omaha Royals of the Pacific Coast League. The Zoo is planning to buy Rosenblatt Stadium after it is replaced by a new downtown stadium which will be the new home for the NCAA College World Series in 2011.
The following is a selected list of when buildings and exhibits were created:
Historical admission fees are as follows:
|Year||0-2 †||3-4||5-11||12-61||62 and over||Household membership|
|2001 price||Free||$4.25||$8.00||$6.50||$50.00 (1/1-4/1); $60.00 (4/2-12/31)|
|2003 price||Free||$5.25||$9.00||$7.50||$60.00 (1/1-4/6); $68.00 (4/7-12/31)|
|2004 price||Free||$6.00||$9.75||$8.25||$65.00 (1/1-4/4); $73.00 (4/5-12/31)|
|2005 price||Free||$6.50||$10.25||$8.75||$65.00 (1/1-4/3); $73.00 (4/4-12/31)|
|2007 price||Free||$7.00||$10.75||$9.25||$70.00 (1/1-4/6); $78.00 (4/7-12/31)|
|2009 price||Free||$7.75||$11.50||$10.00||$73.00 (1/1-4/5); $83.00 (4/6-12/31)|
|2010 price||Free||$7.75||$11.50||$10.00||$78.00 (1/1-4/4); $88.00 (4/5-12/31)|
† As of 2007, the "free" price was reduced from age 4 to age 2.
]] The Lied Jungle opened on April 4, 1992 at a cost of $15 million. It is one of the largest indoor rainforest in the world; it occupies an 80-foot (24 m) tall building that spans 1.5 acres (6,100 m2) and is located just inside the main entrance.
Inside there is 123,000 square feet (2.82 acres; 11,400 m2) of floor space, of which 61,000 square feet (1.4 acres; 5,670 m2) is planted exhibit space; 35,000 square feet (0.8 acres; 3,250 m2) of display management area; and 11,000 square feet (0.25 acres; 1,020 m2) of education area.
Visitors can walk along a dirt trail on the floor of the jungle as well as on a walkway around and above the animals. Along both trails approximately 90 species can be found including:
Note: For a short time there was also an albino alligator on display.
Visitors to the Jungle can view the indoor jungle through 90 feet (27 m) of floor-to-ceiling windows at the Durham's TreeTops Restaurant, which is next to the jungle. A portion of the electrical power needed for the jungle is provided by natural gas fuel cells. The Jungle has won several awards, including "Single best zoo exhibit in the country" in 1994 by the Family Life Magazine; "Significant Achievement Award for Exhibit Design" in 1993 by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums; "Top ten designs in the world" in 1992 by Time, and; "Top eight US engineering accomplishments" in 1992 by the National Society of Professional Engineers
The Walter and Suzanne Scott Kingdoms of the Seas Aquarium is an aquarium that opened on April 1, 1995 at a cost of $16 million. The building has 71,000 square feet (1.6 acres; 6,600 m2).
]] It features displays of aquatic habitats from polar regions, temperate oceans, the flooded Amazon Rainforest, and coral reefs. The 900,000-U.S. gallon (750,000-imperial gallon/3.4 million L) shark tank features a 70-foot (21 m) shark tunnel that is at the bottom of the 17-foot (5.2 m) deep tank. This tank features sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, and coral reef fish.
Other tanks include a North Pacific Giant Octopus, jellyfish, and open ocean schooling fish. A new addition is a portable touch tank which allows visitors to feel a shark's scales and the rubbery skin of a stingray. In addition, an educational biofact cart is situated next to the tank to reveal more mysteries of the sea like coral shapes, shark skins, snail and shark egg cases, and shark jaws. During warmer months, Little Penguins can be found outside near the entrance of the aquarium. The only fresh water display is of the Amazon Rainforest that includes fish, invertebrates, turtles, and mammals (including Common Squirrel Monkeys).
The aquarium features water dwelling animals from around the world, including
The Garden of the Senses opened in spring 1998 at a cost of $1.8 million. The garden is filled with plants, fountains, birds, a giant sundial, and more. Over 250 different species of herbs, perennials, and trees as well as roses & flowers, butterfly-friendly plants, and trellises. The birds include Macaws, South American parrots, and Australian cockatoos.
The Desert Dome opened in April 2002 at a cost of $31.5 million (includes Kingdoms of the Night). It is the world's largest indoor desert at around 42,000 square feet (0.96 acres; 3,900 m2). Beneath the Desert Dome is the Kingdoms of the Night and both levels make up a combined total of 84,000 square feet (1.9 acres; 7,800 m2). The Desert Dome has geologic features from deserts around the world: Namib Desert of south Africa; Red Center of Australia; and the Sonoran Desert of the southwest United States.
Animals include: ]]
In addition to being the world's largest indoor desert, the Desert Dome's geodesic dome is also the world's largest glazed geodesic dome. The dome is 137 feet (42 m) above the main level and 230 feet (70 m) in diameter. There are 1,760 acrylic windows with 4 shades (some clear) that were placed to allow maximum shade in the summer and maximum light in the winter to reduce energy costs.
The Eugene T. Mahoney Kingdoms of the Night opened beneath the Desert Dome in April 2003 at a cost of $31.5 million (includes Desert Dome). Kingdoms of the Night is the world's largest nocturnal animal exhibit (which is housed underneath the world's largest desert under the world's largest glazed geodesic dome ) at 42,000 square feet (0.96 acres; 3,900 m2). Both the Kingdoms of the Night and the Desert combine to a total of 84,000 square feet (1.9 acres; 7,800 m2). The Kingdoms of the Night features a wet cave (with a 14 ft/4.3 m deep aquarium), a canyon, an African diorama, a Eucalyptus forest, a dry batcave, and a swamp. The swamp is also the world's largest indoor swamp.
Some of the animals found at the Kingdom of the Night:
The Hubbard Gorilla Valley is a gorilla exhibit named after Dr. Theodore Hubbard (a cardiologist from Omaha) opened in April 8, 2004 at a cost of $14 million. Prior to being expanded and rebuilt, the Hubbard Gorilla Valley was the Owen Gorilla House. Recently, the gorrilas have suffered a loss. Baina, a 3 year old gorrila, was killed. She was put in a holding cage with her father, Chief Fecund, he threw her in the air and hurt her head. She was taken to the hospital where she died. Chief Fecund passed away in 2009 after fathering his 5th son Wally.
Some of the animals are:
The Hubbard Orangutan Forest opened in two phases during 2005 — first phase was opened in May 2005 and the second phase opened in late summer 2005 — at a cost of $8.5 million. The first phase is the outdoor habitat that includes two 65-foot (20 m) tall, 100-short-ton (91-metric-ton) Banyan trees interconnected with vines enclosed by a stainless steel netting. A 20-foot (6.1 m) waterfall is named after Claire Hubbard, the Orangutan Forest's primary donor. The second phase is the indoor habitat that has 3,126 square feet (0.07 acres; 290 m2).
The Durham Family Bear Canyon opened in 1989 at a cost of $1.4 million. The canyon has a large 30,000-U.S.-gallon (25,000 imp gal; 110,000 L) tank for Polar Bears.
The canyon has members of four species of the family Ursidae:
The Wild Kingdom Pavilion has been transformed into a state of the art exhibit, Exploration Station. The Station will serve as a safari-themed “Trail Head” where visitors begin their “wild” adventure at Omaha’s Zoo. Mutual of Omaha's Exploration Station includes a detailed interactive map of the Zoo and video previews of major attraction such as the Scott Aquarium, Lied Jungle, Desert Dome and Hubbard Gorilla Valley and Orangutan Forest. The Station will also feature the History of the Zoo, Explorer Zone Classroom, Discover Biodiversity area, a theater and numerous live animal displays and animal demonstration stage.
Tree of Learning The center of the Exploration Station features a 20-foot (6 m) high netted tree, with free-flying birds. Below the tree will include water displays with turtles, archer fish and more.
Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom Pavilion Original Facility Situated inside the Zoo's main entrance, the 21,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom Pavilion was completed in the spring of 1987. The membership drive theme was “Go Zoo U”. More than 32,000 household membership were sold and over 600,000 visitors enjoyed this new complex its first year. The building currently houses reptiles, insects, amphibians and small mammals while also providing business offices, a 312-seat multimedia auditorium and classrooms.
Small Animal Collection The building's original public area, or living classroom, houses part of the Zoo's reptile collection as well as a large number of invertebrates. The animal collection represents the tremendous diversity in the animal kingdom and includes tarantulas, turtles, snakes, hedgehogs and other small animals.
The Butterfly and Insect Pavilion is a 14,000-square-foot (1,300 m2), total immersion exhibit located between the Scott Aquarium and the Giraffe Complex. Viewed from the sky, the exhibit resembles a winged insect.
Butterfly Conservatory This 2,450-square-foot (228 m2) area will feature 10-foot (3.0 m) high glass sidewalls to allow the maximum amount of light inside the exhibit. Natural light, large trees, rocks and water elements are all critical components needed to simulate a natural habitat and important to stimulate natural butterfly behaviors.
Conservation Promenade Located in the Butterfly Conservatory, the promenade will wind past numerous waterfalls and over streams, through lush vegetation and loop around the giant Amazon water lily pool. The pool will feature a stilt root tree supporting a floating walkway for visitors to travel through the roots and get an up-close view of the giant South American water lilies. Many species of exquisite butterflies and moths including the beautiful Blue Morpho, Zebra Longwing, and Painted Ladies will fly among visitors. Micro-habitats will be displayed along the Conservation Promenade featuring many endangered amphibians the Zoo is currently working with in response to the global amphibian crisis. Upon leaving this area, visitors will find a mirrored room to carefully check for hitch-hiking butterflies before exiting.
Chrysalis Hatching Room A 220-square-foot (20 m2) area where butterflies and moths in their chrysalis or cocoon stage will be brought in from all over the world. Once inside, they will be carefully hung in hatching chambers where you can watch them complete their metamorphosis into breathtaking flying insects. The 510-square-foot (47 m2) entry hallway leading into the insect wing will contain several displays, such as a locust colony and bee hive, along with interactive learning opportunities. Insect Zoo This 2,413-square-foot (224.2 m2) area will have a 5-foot (1.5 m) high glass sidewall on top of a 7-foot (2.1 m) solid wall to allow more intensive exhibit work. Individual micro-habitats will be home to ants, spiders, scorpions, walking sticks, mantids, centipedes, roaches, beetles and a host of other amazing creatures. In the center of this experience, two bird cages will house other exotic species such as tropical hummingbirds.
Lower Level Features two rooms, approximately 1,085-square-foot (100.8 m2) total, to be used for rearing butterflies and culturing insect colonies. A 542-square-foot (50.4 m2) room will be used to maintain plants that are being rotated through the butterfly display. A frog breeding and rearing facility occupying 1,161 square feet (107.9 m2) of space, will house the most threatened amphibians. The rooms will be viewed through windows from the Giraffe Observation Walk that circles the building and will allow Zoo visitors a real look at what goes on behind the scenes. This same path will have numerous native butterfly gardens and offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to be eye to eye and nose to nose with the giraffe herd.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo features the Simmons Aviary, the world's second-largest free-flight aviary, opened in 1983. About 500 birds from all parts of the world occupy the area of the aviary. In this 4-acre (16,000 m2) exhibit, visitors see flamingos, ducks, swans, storks, cranes, spoonbills, ibis and egrets. The Aviary is 800 ft/240 m long and rises to 75 ft/23 m at the center. The structure of two-inch nylon mesh is supported by a system of cables and poles. The use of nylon instead of wire is a unique concept.
The Madagacar Building is not open yet but is set to open May 2010 and will have many animals including lemers and a giant jumping rat.
The zoo also features Lozier IMAX theater, and many other exhibits. Other exhibits include Cheetah Valley, Hoofstock, Owen Sea Lion Pavilion, a petting zoo, the new Budgie Encounter, and many, many others. Many different animals have smaller, individual exhibits such as elephants, okapi, and rhinos.
The Bill and Berniece Grewcock Center for Conservation and Research is a world class genetics research center at the zoo. The center has discovered several new species. The world's first "test-tube" gorilla in-vitro fertilization resides at the zoo. The gorilla was created and born at a zoo in Ohio with sperm frozen by the Henry Doorly reproductive research team. It is the world's largest gorilla sperm bank. The world's first artificially inseminated tiger was born in Omaha in 1991, followed by the world's first artificially inseminated gaur. The original 16,448 square feet (1,528 m2) facility was constructed in 1996 . In 2006 it is undergoing a $6 million expansion which brings the total space to 32,000 square feet (2,900 m2).
The research center focuses on six areas:
A study lead by Edward Louis, a conservation geneticist at the zoo, identified three new mouse lemurs (Simmons' Mouse Lemur, Mittermeier's Mouse Lemur, & Jolly's Mouse Lemur) with the Simmons' Mouse Lemur named after Lee Simmons, the zoo's director.
The Omaha Zoo Railroad is a 2.5 mile (2.9 km) narrow gauge train that loops through the zoo. The railroad began operations on July 22, 1968 after the track was laid down by the Union Pacific railroad. The train operates with one of two oil-powered steam locomotives. Riva is the newest locomotive owned by the zoo despite being manufactured first. It is approximately twice as powerful as the #119 and is regularly used on weekends when more visitors are present. The #119 is the original locomotive for the zoo. A new locomotive named "Virgie" arrived in September 2008. This diesel is styled with a face resembling "Virgie" It will supplement the steam locomotives beginning in 2009- see photo in image gallery section
The tram is a trackless tram that drives on the walkway paths around the zoo. It has four stops:
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo opened the Skyfari in 2009. it is an aerial tram that runs from one stop at the Butterfly and Insect Pavilion to the rhinos and elephants. It goes over the African veldt, cheetahs, the railroad tracks, the Garden of the Senses, the koi lagoon, and the rhinos. Admission cost $2.00 per person for one way.
A carousel on which visitors of all ages can ride handcrafted recreations of wild animals.
The zoo offers many educational programs for kids and adults of all ages. The activities include the following: school-involved programs, special "edzoocational" programs, zoo internships, animal-adoption, and volunteer work. There are several programs available that include field trips, guided tours, educator workshops, and two-way internet video conferencing to bring the zoo to the classroom. The edzoocational programs are educational programs that are taught in a non-traditional way. These programs include over-night campouts at the zoo, scouting programs, birthday parties, and on-site speakers.