Homer's Travels: No Lions? Oh Well, There Were Tigers And Bears.

Friday, July 31, 2009

No Lions? Oh Well, There Were Tigers And Bears.

How many of you remember Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom? When I was a kid I was amazed as Jim went where Marlin feared to tread (Marlin: "While I sit hear drinking this margarita, Jim will try to determine the sex of the rabid Badger."). Well, I relived some of that on Thursday when the Wife and I went to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo.

The Henry Doorly Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country. It's right up there with the San Diego Zoo in my opinion. We picked a great time to go. The prior weekend, Mutual of Omaha celebrated it's 100th anniversary by opening up the zoo and several other local museums and attractions for free. This meant a rather light crowd on Thursday. The zoo employees also had time to recover from the record 40,000 zoo attendees on Saturday alone.

We walked through the 130 acre zoo starting with the iconic Desert Dome. Under the dome, as we walked through the Kingdom of the Night exhibit, we waded through the herds of North American Wailing Rugrats including the one giving the Fart-Noise-By-Blowing-Into-His-Hands call of the wild. It was delightful.

Our walk took us through the Orangutan Forest, Cat Complex, Bear Canyon (they fed the Polar Bear while we were there), and the Aviary before we stopped for lunch. After lunch came the Elephants, Rhinos, and the ride on the new Skifari ski lift ride over the park.

The skifari was pretty cool and lasted longer than we expected. We were warned about our shoes - apparently one rider lost a shoe over the cheetah pen and they chewed on it all day long. It was fun looking at the animals from above and the faces of people on the ride who probably, by the look of distress on their faces, shouldn't have been on the ride at all. We wondered what the animals must have thought seeing these flying people overhead. One poor ostrich constantly protected her egg from the ski lift chairs. She was probably exhausted by the end of the day.

The skifari was followed by the Giraffe complex, the Zebras, and a really cool Butterfly and Insect pavilion. This was the Wife's favorite. You walked through a simulated jungle full of butterflies and hummingbirds. It was one of my favorite as well.

We ended our four hour tour of the zoo with the Scott Aquarium (full of fish, not Scotts. I was a little disappointed) and the Rain Forest/Jungle. Both of these were well done.

We both enjoyed the visit to the Zoo. Temps were perfect. Crowds were manageable. Animals were cool. I always have mixed feeling with zoos. I like looking at the animals but I can't help thinking they would live happier lives out in the wild. Hopefully, with the planned expansion once the old stadium is torn down, the animals will get more room to roam free. Pictures of the day can be found here.


  1. Your photos are great! Some of them should be framed!

  2. I share your mixed feelings about zoos. For so much of their long history, zoos have chiefly been symbols of conquest ("look at the treasures from the Empire!"), rather than educational.

    I also read something interesting once that talked about the fact that while people trek to see the San Diego zoo, they pass right through a Mediterranean environment that is both rare and being destroyed at an alarming rate. Intriguing thought, no?

  3. Mom: Thanks Mom! If you want a framed copy of any of the pictures, let me know.

    GH: People often don't appreciate the nature around them.