Gateway to the Wild
$33 million capital campaign
A Renewed Commitment
In June 2010, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo released an illustrative master plan that established a roadmap for the future. New exhibits, increased visitor ammenities, upgrades to current facilities, the addition of new species to the animal collection and an increased focus on education are all components of a plan that seeks to enhance your overall experience.
Phase I of Gateway to the Wild
Historically, Omaha's Zoo has unveiled a spectacular new exhibit every 1-2 years. This year the Director and CEO of Omaha's Zoo, Dennis Pate, along with support from dedicated zoo staff and architects, unveiled a plan to create the most thrilling, satisfying and comfortable visitor expereince anywhere. At $33 million, it's the grandest project in the Zoo's history.
Following are the highlights of Phase I of the Gateway to the Wild Campaign. Prepare to experience a zoo that's as famous for its visitor experience as it is for its animal displays.
The Gateway: 13th Street and and a New Zoo Parkway
Gateway to the Wild starts at the front door with a stunning new entrance plaza. From 13th Street you'll enter a shady, gently curving boulevard through 35 acres of green grass and shade trees, a serene approach to the main entrance. Choose from the new parking options or wind your way to the main drop-off circle. No more waiting for big buses - they'll be routed to a special entrance that ensures the sage and orderly arrival of the Zoo's most important visitors: school children.
The new, open look of Omaha's Zoo will inspire imagination and build anticipation from blocks away. As you approach the new entrance, plaza islands representing Nebraska's legendary sandbars create comfortable gathering places and provide natural seating in sun or shade. Their design ushers your family to the best entrance for you. The new entrance plaza will extend more than 40 feet outward, fanning visitors out in logical ways: members this way, ticket-buyers that way, groups over here, all with much more elbow room in between. Zoo docents will welcome you and keep your kids entertained while you buy your tickets.
Look forward to more than 14,000 square feet of new welcome space, an enhanced ticket redemption gate and a new guest services building. From inside or outside the Zoo you will be able to explore the new gift shop, twice as big for better browsing. Just inside the gate, you'll appreciate the added amenities like security and first-aid.
Once inside the new entrance, the first thing you'll see is the familiar Lion's Pride sculpture that kids love to climb. The Lion's Pride is a popular feature of the Zoo and will be enhanced with diverse, native plants, a soft-surface play area surrounding the lions and a semicircular limestone bench offering relaxed seating around the whole display.
The 6,200 square foot Omaha Steaks Grill located next to the Lied Jungle entrance will be hard to resist, with 240 comfy new chairs gathered around the shade trees adorning its deck. It's the perfect place to relax and enjoy people-watching and a menu of renowned Omaha Steak treats.
The current asphalt streets will become stone-lined, pedestrian-friendly boulevards designed to make strolling from the entrance to the aquarium more care-free. New pathways will stretch from the entrance of the Scott Aquarium to the elevator building located next to Hubbard Orangutan Forest.
Visitors will be coaxed down the main boulevard by the new Fountain Plaza, 11,000 square feet of refreshing, splashy fun for children of any age. It's centerpiece is a gleaming sculpture winding high, drizzling water gently down. The Fountain Plaza becomes the new portal to the legendary Scott Aquarium, which will dazzle you with its own new exhibits.
The Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium
Since opening in 1995, the Scott Aquarium has been one of the most popular exhibits at the Zoo. The Gateway to the Wild campaign includes renovation of 12,000 square feet of visitor areas, the addition of 10 new exhibits - including 5 additional jellyfish species, more room to move around, and gorgeous new aquatic inspired decor. Visitors will be immediately welcomed by a 40-foot long aquarium that will present a seemingly endless parade of schooling fish and a new touch tank that will bring to life the wonders of the ocean.
Education and Conference Center
Crowning this makeover will be the new 13,000 square-foot Education and Conference Center, a rentable 400 seat meeting room with access to the entire Scott Aquarium. Imagine enjoying cocktails with other guests gathering in the aquarium before moving into private conference space, complete with full dining services. Inside a shimmering wave wall and 25-foot aquarium will add serene, stately beauty to events. Automated skyfold partitions descend like magic from the ceiling, dividing the room for smaller break-out sessions or classroom space.
Supporting Gateway to the Wild
As of August 2011, we have achieved $22 million in gifts and pledges towards the $33 million campaign goal. We are grateful for the individuals, corporations and foundations whose support has provided the early momentum to help reach two-thirds of our goal.
We invite you to join us in this endeavour by making a gift in support of the Gateway to the Wild Campaign. Donations can be made online, in-person or over the phone. Naming opportunties are still available and commitments can be paid over multiple years.
For more information regarding campaign gifts, please contact us at (402) 738-2073.