In case you’ve been wondering where we’ve been the past few days, we’ve been Road Trippin’! (We know you guys await these posts with bated breath– psht!) I grew up visiting family in Omaha– going to the Old Market and Rosenblatt Stadium, getting La Casa’s carryout, exploring the Henry Doorly Zoo + Aquarium, and staying at Papa/ Nana’s house– the happiest place on earth: adorned with the softest towels, endless spaghetti and meatballs, and infinite love. But since Papa/ Nana’s isn’t open to the public, we’ll focus on our vacation’s secondary priority: Mya’s first trip to the Omaha Zoo. Since you could spend an entire weekend investigating this zoo’s exhibits, we had to narrow-down our must-sees for the afternoon trip:
THE BUTTERFLY PAVILION
Upon entering this exhibit, you will be enclosed in an air-lock with your group. This regulates the traffic flow through the full immersion exhibit, where you observe vibrant butterflies and tiny birds up close and personal. They flutter around you as if you are not even there and snack on what looks like fruit cocktail. Upon exiting, you are again enclosed in an air-lock with your group where you check to see if any lil’ guys decided to hitchhike.
This is in the top-two of exhibits to see in my book. (The other being the Lied Jungle, which we’ll get to in a bit.) Puffins and penguins dive into the water, where you can see their every move through a 60 ft long, 25 ft high window. A 70 ft long tunnel puts you on the ocean floor where humongous sea turtles, gliding stingrays, and a myriad of sharks swim over and around you. Jellyfish drift and glow in large tanks. The aquarium even has it’s own gift shop, as if the main one wasn’t big enough!
GORILLA VALLEY + ORANGUTAN FOREST
The Gorilla Valley is a major player in gorilla conservation, which is a testament to this lush 3 acre site. The primates are not shy in the slightest, coming right up to the glass to inspect their patrons.
This two-level jungle is America’s largest indoor rainforest. You are surrounded by waterfalls, bridges, and animals galore: monkeys, pygmy hippos, tropical birds, bats, and so much more! (The free-to-fly-anywhere bats were new to my experience. They were feisty– totally oblivious to our path and flew into us a couple times, but totally harmless, right?!)
The family zoo trip was a success! Mya lasted 3.5 hrs and we saw more than expected. We will definitely be going back to show her more in the future!: the Desert Dome, Kingdoms of the Night, Stingray Beach, Lions + Tigers + Bears— oh my!, an IMAX show, and more!
Look what we found in our picture archives: Derek and my first Omaha zoo date together– circa 2007! We think we’ve made a good addition to our fam jam.
My first trip to the zoo with my Dad. Mya’s first trip with hers. My heart is melting.
Where are you headed this summer? Any road trips we should put on our bucket list?