Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo And Aquarium
It’s easy to see why this zoo consistently receives high marks. First, it’s huge. Second, its design lets you commune with gorillas, sharks, snakes, red pandas and all sorts of other creatures. It’s home to the largest indoor desert habitat in the world, capped off with a stunning three-story dome, as well as immersive habitats such as the African Grasslands, ocean, rainforest, nocturnal and butterfly exhibits.
Henry Doorly Zoo And Aquarium
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The fact that some of the best cities in the country have some of the best zoos is no coincidence.
In Omaha, Nebraska, you can visit the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
This is a haven not only for the animals, who are remarkably well-cared-for, but also the visitors like you.
Between the zoo and the aquarium, you can see so many amazing species.
These include cheetahs, pygmy goats, sea lions, and sharks.
There are also plenty of great Visitor Experiences, such as feeding giraffes and getting a piece made for you by one of the animal artists.
One of the best travel hacks for your trip to Omaha, Nebraska is to come to the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
Its open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April 1 to October 31 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from November 1 to March 31.
Admission varies based on time of year, but its always free for children two and younger.
Address: 3701 S 10th St, Omaha, NE 68107, USA
Outdoor Activities In Omaha For Kids
Home to more than 80 miles of walking, biking and hiking trails, youll find plenty of outdoor activities in Omaha for kids. Fontenelle Forest has two large areas of woods, prairie and wetlands for hiking and animal encounters. The 103-acre TreeRush Adventures aerial park is slated to open in summer 2019. Itll have a special section for kids ages 4-6 to have the same fun as the big kids, but just a few feet off the ground.
Take time to smell the flowers on your family vacation in Omaha at Lauritzen Gardens, a 100-acre botanical center. Among its many gardens is one just for kids and another with model trains running through the landscape. Occupy the family even more by printing out the scavenger hunt list of what to see, smell, hear and touch before going.
If you want some fun in or near water with your family in Omaha, Tubing & Adventures is a one-stop shop for tubing, kayaks, fishing and camping on the Elkhorn River. Its partner The Neighborhood Offshore provides stand-up paddle board rentals and yoga.
Make a splash at Fun-Plex, Nebraskas largest waterpark with dozens of waterslides, 18-hole mini golf, go-karts, cabana rentals and even an adults-only swim-up bar.
You and your family can swim, hike, bike, paddleboat, camp and more in Mahoney State Park. The park includes the Go Apes zip line course through the lush forest for ages 10 and up. Winter fun includes cross-country skiing, sledding and toboggan runs, ice skating and fishing.
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Things To Do With Kids In Omaha Ne
- TripBuzz found 80 things to do with kids in or near Omaha, Nebraska, including 51 fun activities for kids in nearby cities within 25 miles like Council Bluffs, Bellevue, Papillion and Ashland.
- From Henry Doorly Zoo to TD Ameritrade Park, the Omaha area offers 50 different types of family activities, including: Movie Theaters, Parks, Family Fun Center and Water Parks.
- Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska, home to over 400,000 residents. The 42nd largest city in the nation, the city boasts five Fortune 500 business headquarters amongst a vast array of historic sites and landmarks. Omaha boasts a strong culture rich in the arts, proudly hosting performance centers, museums, galleries, and music.
Fontenelle Forest Nature Center
Sometimes it can be good to escape the hustle and bustle of life and step into nature. Families near Bellevue can do this at Fontenelle Forest, a beautiful green space with hiking trails and picnic facilities, perfect for an afternoon as a family. The Fontenelle Forest Nature Center runs fun events and activities like high ropes course activities, nature lectures and classes where kids can learn about and even meet some of the animals who live in the forest, Habitat Hollow, an exhibit specifically designed for young kids where they can learn about animals, dress up in costumes, and play. Fontenelle Forest is also home to a Raptor Woodland Refuge, which focuses on the conservation of birds of prey and runs lots of fun and educational programs.
1111 Bellevue Blvd N, Bellevue, NE 68005, Phone: 402-731-3140
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Day Trip To Platte River State Park
If you love the outdoors and have a day to get out of the hustle and bustle of downtown Omaha, I recommend taking a day trip to Platte River State Park.
Platte River is a 453-acre recreation area located halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, and its full of picturesque waterfalls, scenic hiking trails, kayak access points, a spray park, state of the art camping facilities, and nearly any activity that your adventure heart desires!
The park was created by two separate camps, Harriet Harding Campfire Girls Camp and Camp Esther K. Newman. When the camps merged to create one big state park, vintage cabins were preserved and cozy glamping cabins were added to offer an luxurious indoor/outdoor experience.
Book a reservation for the summer so you can spend your days kayaking on the river, mountain biking along the trails, or relaxing in your cozy bungalow!
Details: 14421 346th St, Louisville, NE 68037 | Website
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- BEST OF NEBRASKA: 15 Things To Do In Nebraska Everyone Will Love
Why We Recommend This Activity
With its cobblestone streets and historic architecture, Old Market is a paradise for teens who are into vintage snaps.
Even better, the neighborhood is dotted with chic boutiques and restaurants that will surely satisfy everyones palate.
Our favorite here is Spaghetti Works, which is a family-friendly restaurant that offers eat-all-you-can Italian staples, like pasta.
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Kids Attractions In Omaha
The Omaha Childrens Museum will occupy your kids and their imagination for hours. Thats because theres tons of interactive and educational exhibits, a gigantic ball machine, splash pad and more.
Art Works in the Joslyn Art Museum has 1,500-square-feet of interactive space for your wild bunch to get hands-on with some priceless pieces theyll see in the galleries. The best part? Admission to both is free, but special exhibits may have a fee. This is a great thing to do in Omaha with kids.
Have a budding thespian in the family? Once a vaudeville venue, The Rose Theater now provides only kid-friendly performances. Plus, a soundproof restless room lets them get the wiggles out while you still watch the show via live video feed.
Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a must-visit for your family. It has a renowned conservation program and some of the largest exhibits and indoor rainforests and deserts in North America. Get really wild and book a Sleeping Bag Safari to experience the zoo after-hours. Prices for that are reasonable, but kids must be 4 or older. You need to book at least three weeks in advance.
Lauritzen Gardens Omahas Botanical Center
If your child is a fan of the great outdoors, the Lauritzen Gardens is the perfect spot. The gardens can be best described as a living museum of plants. The gardens are really well maintained and the display consists of four-season flora that makes for an educational and wonderful experience for you and your kids.
The aesthetics of the garden are the not the only attractive aspect, there is a childrens garden that offers educational insight and hands-on gardening experience to kids. Children learn to plant and sustain in a wonderfully interactive way, thus appreciating nature more.
This Urban Oasis is located at the center of the city and is easily accessible to other areas of the city. What makes the garden more appealing are the riverfront hills.
Throughout May till October tram tours of the garden can be taken along with a narrator. Its an interesting and thorough way of covering the hundred acre site. The entry fee is $10 for adults and $5 for children 6-12 years . For kids younger than six entry is free.
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Great Platte River Road Archway Monument
There are roadside attractions, and then theres the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, which takes the form of a walkable arch that stretches right over I-80. The Archway first opened in 2000, and inside it is a museum commemorating the history of the Great Platte River Road, which for a long time has been a main thoroughfare for pioneers migrating west, Native Americans traveling through the area, and more. Family-friendly exhibits include a recreation of a traditional sod house, an interactive historical exhibit, and a Trail Blaze Maze. There are also picnic facilities on the premises.
3060 E 1st St, Kearney, NE 68847, Phone: 308-237-1000
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Admission And Special Events
- The Zoo Membership Pass is a fantastic deal you get admission to the Omaha Zoo AND the IMAX theater, and you can add a season pass to the Wildlife Safari Park! You also receive reciprocal privileges to over 100 zoos nationwide.
- Current Zoo Admission: See here for pricing including IMAX theater.
- Be sure to check the Zoo Calendar to find Special Events held throughout the year to enhance your visit!
Special Places Of Interest
- The Old Market, a favorite among locals and visitors, is an historic area in downtown Omaha featuring shopping, restaurants, boutiques, nightlife, galleries, horse-drawn carriages, street musicians, all surrounded by cobblestone streets. First Friday Old Market, held on the first Friday of each month from 6 9 p.m., is a free event celebrating local creativity.
- Holy Family Shrine is a beautiful glass chapel overlooking I-80 that serves as a place of rest and solitude for people of all faiths. west on Pflug Road ).
- Lewis & Clark Visitor Center Located in the National Park Service building next to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on the Omaha side. Free to the public.
- St. Cecilia Cathedral with its beautiful architecture and amazing stained-glass windows, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It also hosts a wonderful flower festival every January.
- Mormon Trail Visitors Center , a monument to the trials and tribulations of the early pioneers, includes a full-sized log cabin, covered wagon, oxen and handcart, with special Gingerbread House displays at Christmas.
- View the Fertile Ground Mural, an amazing 32,500 square-foot mural located on the east and north exterior walls of the Energy Systems building at 13th and Mike Fahey Street.
Omaha Public Library Passes To Area Attractions
- Members of the Omaha Public Library can check out passes during specific times of the year to the Omaha Childrens Museum, Fontenelle Forest, Lauritzen Gardens, and the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium! Refer to each linked article for further details and information. Supply is limited and some restrictions may apply.
- Take a walk on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge , and enjoy the amazing view of downtown Omaha.
- Slide down the slides at the Gene Leahy Mall , and enjoy the peaceful walk along the Missouri River at the Lewis and Clark Landing
- Memorial Park features monuments honoring men and women of the armed forces who were killed or missing during service. A beautiful rose garden highlights the expansive grounds which are perfect for sledding in the winter, or concerts and games in the summer.
- Visit the OPPD Arboretum for a picturesque walk in the city.
- Stroll around the beautiful lakes and feed the ducks at Lakeside Hills Park , Halleck Park , and Schwer Park
- Omaha and the surrounding areas offer an abundance of Recreation Areas for the entire family to enjoy, including:
- Walnut Creek Recreation Area, Papillion
- Walk around the park and enjoy the spectacular fountain and light show at the Heartland of America Park .
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Museum Of Nebraska History
The state of Nebraska has a long and storied history spanning thousands of years into the past, and many of those events are documented and memorialized in the Museum of Nebraska History, located in Lincoln. This museum is well suited for families with children, and contains many interactive and interesting exhibits pertaining to the history of Nebraska. Visitors can learn about Nebraska before and after it became the state we know today, and take a look at the thousands of artifacts and objects that are on display in the museum, which depict life in Nebraska throughout the ages.
131 Centennial Mall N, Lincoln, NE 68508, Phone: 402-471-4754
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National Park Service Lewis & Clark Visitor Center
Come and learn some Omaha history at the Lewis & Clark Visitor Center located within the National Park Service headquarters on the banks of the Missouri River. Here you can learn about the Omaha Indians and the land that was their home. Youâll also be able to see real Indian artifacts and even explore a teepee!
Location: 601 Riverfront Dr, Omaha
Opening Hours: Seasonal but generally 8 am to 5 pm weekdays and 9 am to 5 pm on weekends and public holidays.
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Where To Stay In Omaha
Ella and I fell in love with the Hilton Omaha. Just minutes from the Eppley Airfield Airport located in the awesome downtown area near the Old Market Entertainment District and TD Ameritrade Ballpark so there is no shortage of amazing places to eat and fun things to do.
The rooms were spacious and offered plenty of storage. We enjoyed the concierge level lounge amenities especially their tasty breakfast options. We find the concierge level rooms to be a great value if you take advantage of all of their offerings. Check Current Prices Here!
Take a look at Ellas room tour below-
Of course, Ella also loved relaxing in the pool after a long day and the hot tub was complete serenity for me.
Family Night Out Activities In The Omaha Area
We talk a lot about enjoying the Omaha area, with its wonderful places to enjoy date night as a couple, its nearby romantic weekend getaway destinations, and its bars perfect for watching major sports games. However, we dont want to leave the kids out of the fun, especially since they play such a major role in our lives. And lets be honest sometimes the kid-centered activities are just as fun for adults to do, especially if it involves seeing the pure joy on your kids faces throughout the night.
Its pretty easy to find some fun outdoor, daytime activities to enjoy with your kids over the weekend, but it might be a little more difficult to think of things to do on a Friday or Saturday night. But alas, there are plenty of nighttime activities in the Omaha area that the whole family can enjoy! Therefore, we wanted to highlight a few of our favorites to spark some ideas for your next family night out.
Ramp up the excitement by writing each of these down on small pieces of paper and randomly selecting one from a jar each weekend. It will build up anticipation and make the activity that much more of a surprise for everyone even you!
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Heartland Of America Park
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You may be swelled with patriotic pride when you visit this downtown Omaha park.
The Heartland of America Park is one of the most fun Omaha attractions.
No matter how many parks youve been to in your lifetime, this could easily rank as one of the finest.
A powerful fountain is at the heart of the Heartland of America Parks attraction.
Its water shoots several hundreds of feet in the air.
If youre looking for things to do at night in Omaha, Nebraska, theres a spellbinding light show that occurs at the fountain.
You can also ride a gondola or take a tour on the General Marion tour boat.
A trip to downtown Omaha is not complete without going to the Heartland of America Park.
Youll have so much fun and enjoy so many different activities.
Address: 800 Douglas St, Omaha, NE 68102, USA