7 Things: Zoos – #3

Henry Doorly Zoo – Omaha

To me, the best zoos are those that take you out of Urbania and on safari. There is nothing quite like being in the city, yet somehow feeling completely removed from it. When I first saw the Henry Doorly Zoo on the Travel Channel, it looked like a zoo that would transport you way out of Omaha. So, driving right off the Interstate and into the parking lot was quite a disappointment.

The zoo also looked TV-massive, so discovering that it was big, but not THAT big was also a bit of a bummer.

Many of the features of the Henry Doorly Zoo showcased on the Travel Channel were pretty sweet. Like, they have an indoor desert and an indoor jungle, both of which were great. Though, the jungle did look wee tiny in comparison to its on-screen counterpart. I imagine if I didn’t have an expectation of how it was gonna look, it would have been truly impressive.

They do have an underground nocturnal exhibit unlike anything I’ve seen at any zoo anywhere, and that was pretty special and worth the trip. Walking through it was both cool and kinda creepy. But it was a good creepy.

As far as the animals went, though, the Henry Doorly Zoo was kind of bad for habitat. All those cool indoor spaces, and nothing could really be free inside of them. All the animal exhibits had plexiglass or bars and that does not a good zoo make.

All in all, as a biodome, the Henry Doorly was top-notch. As a zoo, all I could think was, “Why are all the monkeys in cages?”

Monkey junk.

Backfloating buddies.

They did have a nice temporary butterfly thing happenin'.

This was kind of a cool feature. There's a gorilla in there.

This monkey was totally working ADD.

Desert dome.

The cagey exhibits prevented seven good shots, so here’s a short snippet of a travel story.

Lauritzen Gardens, which lies just across the Interstate from the zoo, is the only place in the U.S. where I’ve been given the stink eye for speaking English. Apparently, Polish is big there. I didn’t know I was going to offend. I would have worked up a few choice phrases, like, for instance, “My Polish is bad, but your daughter is hot” or “Sauerkraut makes me smile.”

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