Jun 29

Happy Trails at The Zoo

Adventure is in store for Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium visitors this summer, and it’s happening this week!

The Children’s Adventure Trails, our new $27.5 million education and exploration expansion, originally slated to open in August, will have its ribbon-cutting on June 30, at 10:30 a.m.

Does that mean the prairie dog burrow, where visitors can get up close and personal with p-dogs (without actually touching them) will be open? Indeed it does!

What about the obstacle course, where kids can race down slides with friendly goats? Totally!

The skiff crossing? Cross our hearts!

The waterfall where kids can splash and play? Water you waiting for?

The “big backyard” with its insect sculptures, ADA-accessible playground equipment and enormous treehouse, walk-in bird houses, and interactive wetlands? Yes, yes, yes and yes!

Also opening that day: the state-of-the-art education building (which sits outside of the zoo gates, and allows us to expand our education program, including increasing high school enrollment at the zoo by one-third); the brand-new baby care facility that will offer lactation rooms, toilet-training restrooms and other amenities for young families (including the stroller coaster, so that babies can get in on the fun); and the canopy space where monkeys will brachiate alongside and over the heads of visitors exploring the trails. The Dick and Mary Holland Meadowlark Theatre opened on Father’s Day weekend and it features three live bird shows daily.

“We think we're going to see a lot of smiles and excitement and joy on that day," says Todd Scholz, director of capital projects at the zoo. "It's going beyond the red barn petting zoo to something that's highly interactive and completely developed around education. We want kids to be able to answer the question, 'what did I learn from my adventure?' And every time they visit, it can be something new.”

“Thanks to the support of our donors and patrons, we’re able to offer an educational experience unlike anything else in the world,” says Tina Cherica, executive director of the Omaha Zoo Foundation. “Whether they are students enrolled in our formal pre-K-12 education programs, or just kids visiting with their families for the day, young people will be learning things that they can take with them the rest of their lives.”

For more information about supporting the education and exploration expansion, and other programs that support the zoo’s mission, please call 402-738-2073.