Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vacation Day 5-July 7th

Sorry for the long post with a lot of pictures of animals.  I understand if you just skip it!  I wanted to write my thoughts down so that we could remember our trip later.  I think I may be getting close to having one animal per letter of the alphabet so I can make a book for N2!

It finally cooled down so we headed to the Henry Doorly Zoo along with half of Omaha.  It was quite crowded!  We spent the entire day at the zoo from 10-5!  We started by seeing the outdoor animals.  There actually aren't that many outdoor exhibits.  The thing that Brian and I find most impressive about this zoo is how natural the exhibits seem to be.  That's why most of the animals are indoors-because you make make exhibits more natural indoors.  We also were impressed buy how they would put different species in the same exhibit which is how they would be found in the wild.

Noah got hold of the zoo map (mistake!) and he found a picture of a jellyfish which he thought was an octopus and he was determined that he wanted to see the octopus and he didn't want to look at any other animal until he saw the octopus (we didn't want to go in the houses until later in the day when it was hotter).  He was quite cranky until we ate lunch (I think N2 were finally feeling the week of not having as much sleep as they were accustomed to and I think he was feeling the heat). The funny part was that Noah said the favorite part of the zoo was the zebras which he did NOT want to look at.  He also dropped his hat over the fence of the zebra exhibit.  Luckily there was a concrete ledge and some nice taller man reached over and hooked his sunglasses into the hat and got it out.

Natalie said her favorite animal was the Bongo which was a brand new animal for us!
One off the neat exhibits is the lemurs (they have a whole building just for animals from Madagascar).  You walk in among the lemurs.  While we were in the red ruffed lemur exhibit, a lemur jumped onto the banister right in front of people and walked across the boardwalk to get to a tree on the other side.  They don't seem to be timid around people.  But they really hated the whistle on the train as it went past.  They started shrieking and that made Noah very nervous and he wanted to leave.  Natalie didn't seem bothered in the least.
We went into the Gorilla House and saw monkeys, gorillas and a few other animals.  When we were looking at 2 of the gorillas (it looked like a young gorilla and a mama gorilla), Natalie was standing up on a ledge looking in.  The little gorilla came over, stood up and smacked that glass with both of us hands right where Natalie was standing.  I wonder if Natalie appeared threatening???  She thought that was pretty cool.  Here are a few pictures from inside the gorilla house.  The gorilla in the first picture also pounded on the window that we were looking through but not right in front of us.

The cat complex isn't as nice as most of the indoor exhibits but we were amazed by the number of large cats they have.  There were at least 5-6 tigers and 4 lions in addition to pumas, leopards, jaguars and other cats.  I read on their online exhibit card that this is the largest cat complex in North America and there is just as much private areas for breeding (it does a lot of breeding of large cats in North America) as there is public viewing.

The Dessert Dome is just amazing.  It's actually like wandering through a dessert (minus the heat) and seeing various animals.  Underneath it is an exhibit called Kingdom of the Night and it's all about nocturnal animals.  Noah was OK down there until we got to the swamp where it was REALLY dark.  There were alligators and beavers and other animals.  You really had to look carefully to see them.  The whole area was water and  we walked on a boardwalk around the exhibit.  He really didn't like the cave either with the bats.  N2 are not fan of bats.  The top picture of are alligators (I think) that were in the Kingdom of the Night exhibit and the bottom is a Kookaburra in the Dessert Dome.

Finally we went into the aquarium so Noah could see his octopus.  By this time his map had ripped and he only kept a hold of the rectangle that had the picture of the jellyfish.  He kept asking Brian to rip parts off of the map so he could just hold the picture of the jellyfish.  When he and daddy found the octopus, he claimed he did not like that animal and it was NOT the one in the picture.  Luckily the jellyfish were right next door so he was happy that he found what was on his map.  After we walked out of the aquarium he told Brian that he was done with his map and didn't need it anymore.

Noah was transfixed with the crabs.  But then he told me later that he didn't like the crabs because they were mean.  These crabs were HUGE!
There was a large penguin exhibit in the aquarium.  Of course we stopped and watched the penguins for a while.  There were various kinds-I think 4 of them.  We found out that King penguins are 3 ft tall and weigh 35 lbs so just about the same size as N2 although their statue was a little small!  There was a wall that showed all the penguins from shortest to tallest.  Natalie had to give each penguin on there a kiss.

The Leid Jungle was a favorite with N2 because it was like walking in the tops of the trees.  There was also a path down on the jungle floor where you could see other animals that you saw from afar on the top path.  They have native jungle plants in this exhibit as well.  There were several babies-monkeys and gibbons.

I had to include the picture of the sloth because this is the ONLY time I have ever seen a sloth awake and eating.  It was NOT curled up into a ball just sleeping.  I was impressed!

Lastly, we went into their butterfly exhibit. We have never been in a butterfly exhibit before and I was curious what N2 would think.  The butterflies flew very close to Noah and he didn't like that so he and Brian left.  Natalie and I stayed a little longer.  Butterflies did not land on us.  Natalie's favorite was the blue butterflies.  I really like ones that had red on them but they never landed for me to take a picture of.

And here is our obligatory zoo picture of N2 sticking their heads through something.  I think this is the only one I saw.

If I was you and I was driving through Omaha, I would stop at the Henry Doorly zoo as it the best zoo I have been to yet!

1 comment:

  1. I agree, we spent a whole day at the Omaha zoo in May when we visited my sister's family and thought it a great zoo. I didn't know it is even possible to enjoy a zoo for so many hours, especially with young children, but we all did. We saw all the exhibits you described so well. I think my favorite was the animal aquariums and Tom liked the desert dome. I did notice that they have a lot of tigers and that was before I knew that Chase has dropped superheroes for Big Cats, esp. Tigers. We were a little late for the butterflies, but some of our group saw the live butterfly exhibit at the Smithsonian a week ago Sunday.