Apr 23

New and Improved Ways to Serve Our Guests

The north entrance of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has experienced many exciting changes in the past several years – including the arrival of the Children’s Adventure Trails, the Meadowlark Theatre, the Alaskan Adventures splash ground and Stingray Beach.

As this area continues to grow and become an ever-more vibrant center of zoo life, the need for updated and expanded guest services had become more urgent. “We had initially planned an overhaul for down the road a few years, but the concentration of people and activities has caused us to take another look at that whole area,” says Dennis Pate, executive director and CEO of the Omaha Zoo. 

Come Spring 2019, the zoo will unveil a new guest services plaza, a $7 million improvement – made possible through the generous support of Omaha Zoo Foundation donors and patron members – which will include a concession area with seating for 500 people, new restrooms, a shaded private outdoor nursing area, a sweets shop, a ticket booth for area activities, a tram stop and a children’s play area.

The plaza will replace Red Barn Park, which stood since 1966 but no longer adequately served guests or the animals it was originally built to house. (Those animals are already fully acclimated to their new homes in other parts of the zoo.)

While the plaza’s début is about a year down the road, Pate says he’s already heard a lot of enthusiasm for the project. “Being able to provide for our guests and make that part of their zoo experience as enjoyable as any other is important to us and, ultimately, serves our entire mission of education and conservation.”