The best zoo of the world- Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is situated in Omaha, Nebraska. The exact location is 3701 South, 10th Street, Omaha. The zoo is owned and maintained by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums has it as its member. The world class zoo aims at education, conservation, recreation and research. The zoo is also known for its leadership in the research and conservation of animals. This best reviewed zoo also features some of the greatest exhibits. Some of them are the “Kingdoms of the Night” which is the largest nocturnal exhibit in the entire world; next is the largest indoor rainforest- “the Lied Jungle”; other is the “Desert Dome” which is the biggest indoor desert across the globe. North America has its biggest cat complex in the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium only. This is by far the most visited place in Omaha and even the most visited zoo in Nebraska as over 25 million people have visited this zoo in the last 40 years.
Discussing the Past:
Originally, it was named as Riverview Park Zoo and was built in the year 1894. After four years of its establishment it only had 120 animals. In the year 1952, the Omaha Zoological Society took the initiative to improve the conditions of the zoo. Margaret Hitchcock Doorly, now its owner, gave 750,000 US dollar to the zoo in the year 1963. Later the zoo was renamed in the memory of her late husband- Henry Doorly. The Union Pacific got the authorisation of spreading the zoo over an area of 2.5 miles in the year 1968. On 22nd of July 1968, the Omaha Zoo Railroad was laid and two rides were established to navigate the whole zoo. From 2009 onwards, the zoo became the home of many butterflies, other insects and many animals also (including rhinos and elephants). Since 2011, the authorities are focussing on developing the area of once Rosenblatt Stadium to make it the new parking centre of the zoo.
On 1st of April 1995, the Walter and Suzanne Scott Kingdoms of the Seas Aquarium was opened within the area of the zoo. The whole project was of 16 million dollars. The entire aquarium acquires 1,200,000 US gal water and was spread over an area of 71,000 square feet. On 5th of April 2012, the aquarium was reopened with some amazing changes. The Scott Kingdom displays a lot of aquatic inhabitants which came from coral reefs, Amazon Rainforest and Polar Regions. A shark tunnel and tank is also developed which is 17 foot deep and is filled with sharks, coral reef fishes, stingrays and some beautiful sea turtles. The other tanks have an open-ocean schooling fish and a jellyfish. During summers, penguins (only little) can be seen near the entrance of the aquarium. Apart from these the other creatures that can be found in the aquarium are Putterfish, Lionfish, Tufted Puffin, Weedy sea dragon, Moray eel, etc.
The Amazing Lied Jungle:
This is the main attraction of the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. It is the biggest indoor rainforest across the entire world. The total space of 1.5 acres is divided into regions: 61,000 square feet is of exhibit space which is planted, 35,000 square feet region is offered to the management area, 123,000 square feet is the floor space and the educational region covers an area of 11,000 square feet. As the name implies 90 different animal species can be seen in this jungle. Some of these species are endangered and some can be seen on a large scale. The names of some of them are:
- Common Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri Sciureus)
- Scarlet Macaw (Ara Macao)
- Blue Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis)
- Baird’s Tapir (Tapairus Bairdi)
- Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta Caraya)
- Philippine Crocodile (Crocodylus Mindorensis)
- Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis Liberiensis)
Desert Dome and Garden of the Senses:
The popular Kingdoms of Night is included in the Desert Dome itself which is the largest indoor desert till date in the world. The geodesic dome of the Desert Dome is the biggest glazed geodesic dome ever made. The Desert Dome was spectacularly designed with features of different exotic deserts namely Namib Desert (South Africa), Sonoran Desert (Southwest United States) and Red Cener, Australia. Thus, with the geographical features of these deserts the place is worth visiting. Another supreme attraction of Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is the Garden of the Senses. The garden features many different birds, plants, huge sundial, fountains, etc. There are approximately 250 different species of plants available that includes herbs, roses, trellises, perennials and some butterfly friendly plants. Some common birds that can be seen there are Australian cockatoos, Macaws and the pretty South American Parrots.
We can’t ignore the glorious Cat Complex, the Hubbard Orangutan Forest, the Hubbard Gorilla Valley, the Durham Family Bear Canyon, the Butterfly Conservatory, the Tree of Learning, the Butterfly and Insect Pavilion, the insect zoo, the Chrysalis Hatching Room, the Simmons Aviary and the amazing Expedition Madagascar which was opened recently in the year 2010. The whole zoo is very big, so we can’t even count the number of exhibits it offers. To explore each and every part of the Zoo is impossible. So one have to take turns if want to see the whole zoo properly.