Omaha Zoo

This past weekend of Sept. 25th, Sharon, Dominic and I met Jim, Alice and Melissa at the Omaha Henry Doorley Zoo. I am happy to report that the zoo lived up to its stellar reputation. Over the years, I had heard how nice the Omaha zoo is. I finally got an opportunity to see for myself how nice it really is.

Sharon, Dominic and I left our house at about 7:15 on Saturday morning. Dominic got up by himself, and he was in a great mood. Sharon and I were pretty tired, having stayed up rather late the night before. We met Jim and Alice at McDonald's in Platte City where I was able to juice up on coffee, and Sharon had some breakfast. Dominic claimed he was not hungry. We made it to St. Joseph before Dominic said that he had to go to the bathroom. So, we stopped, got gas, snacks, drinks and relief. We managed to follow Jim & Alice all the way to the zoo. We only had to take one other bathroom break after St. Joseph, which we did on the side of the road somewhere in northwest Missouri.

We arrived at the zoo at about 10:30. The zoo is right across the street from the baseball stadium where the college world series is played. It is a nice looking stadium from the outside. We paid for our zoo tickets (a reasonable $10 in my opinion), and Dominic was able to go for free.

The first thing that we visited inside the zoo was the desert, which I think is a relatively new attraction. It was underneath a "bubble". According to the literature, it is the largest indoor desert in the world. We were able to walk along a path that seemed to never end! In the desert we saw jackrabbits, snakes, meercats, cactai, etc. (Sharon took a lot of pictures, so it will be easier to remember what we saw when we look at them.) Underneath the desert dome was "Creatures of the Night". We were able to walk along another long path, but it was completely in the dark. This was cool! There was an awesome pool of water that looked like it went about 10 feet down. It had some fish in it. I think that there was some protective glass to make sure nobody fell to the bottom, but it wasn't visible. There was a great bat display, with hundreds of bats flying around.

After the desert and creatures of the night, which took longer than I thought it would, we were hungry. At least, I was. We decided to eat at one of the concession stands. Since the stand we chose happened to be outside of the aquarium, we chose to go there next. The aquarium was AWESOME! I really liked the penguins (which had a web-cam in their abode), the octopus and the colorful sea creatures. The best display in the whole zoo was the shark tank. There must have been 30 sharks swimming all around us as we walked through the tunnel. There were also rays and other sea creatures. I've definitely never been that close to a shark before, as only inches seperated me from there sharp teeth!

We next visited the apes. As always, they were entertaining. Their mannerisms are so much like ours. Dominic really liked the apes. One came over and looked at him and other kids through the glass, and then pounded on the glass. All the kids jumped. It was funny. We saw some orangutans also. As usual when we go with Dominic, I didn't get a chance to read much about the animals. However, it is more fun to have him along and to watch his reaction to all of the excitement. He really had a great time.

We next went to see the sea otters. Nothing too exciting here, to me. They barked a few times, which was cool. Dominic wanted to see them. We rested for a couple minutes and just watched them. They didn't do too much. Prior to the sea otters, I took the opportunity to eat a hot pretzel and drink a frozen leomonade. The pretzel was small, but good, and the leomonade was refreshing.

After the sea otters, we wanted to make our way toward the rain forest because it was getting rather late. However, we got sidetracked on a bridge because Dominic was having fun looking at the many fish below. I think they were carp. We bought some food, and he tossed some in. Then, we were all mesmerized by the monkeys that were on an island close to the bridge. Somebody on the bridge had graham crackers with them that they were throwing out to the monkeys. Watching the monkeys retrieve these graham crackers was freaking hillarious. They would reach out as far as they could with their long arms, and then they would look like they were about to fall into the water. However, at the last moment, they would grap a limb with one of their appendages, usually their tail, which is a lot stronger than I thought. This was great fun! After about 15 minutes watching the monkeys, we began our treck toward the rain forest. I pulled Dominic in the wagon, and it was uphill.

The rainforest was a great display also. It was two levels. Some of the animals were roaming free. In fact, there was a lemur (I think) that appeared to be out of its cage. There were no zoo personnel around, so many people didn't know if it was supposed to be out or not. Eventually, it jumped back on top of the cage. There were snakes (in cages, thankfully), monkeys, fish, birds and other jungle life. We had the wagon with us, which was kind of hard to maneuver in the jungle (as it was elsewhere). But, I think it was worth having the wagon. Otherwise, we would have been carrying a lot more stuff on our persons.

After we came out of the rain forest, Jim and I got seperated from Sharon, Alice, Melissa and Dominic somehow. They evidently went into a nearby building that had insects and other creatures. Jim and I waited near the entrance/exit, hoping that they would appear sometime. Finally, Jim went into the building and found them. They came out, and Jim went in. Then, they went into the gift shop, and Jim came out. It was a challenge getting everyone together. Finally, we did get everyone together. As Dominic and I played catch with a toy that he had gotten from Alice, everyone else tried to decide on a place to eat. I was in favor of going straigt to the hotel, because it was getting late. However, I also liked the idea of checking out a local restraunt.

By this time, Dominic was finally getting tired. He had behaved marvoulously all day long, but lack of sleep was finally catching up to him. He did not want to go to a resturaunt. We all drove to downtown Omaha to go to a place called Spaghetti Works. It took forever to find parking spots, because downtown was packed. I was really impressed with the Omaha downtown district. They had brick streets and a lot of nice looking resturaunts and shops. It was quaint. When I caught up with the group after parking the car, they told me that it was going to be about a half hour wait. Of course, we knew it was going to be a wait. But, Dominic was not doing well, and we decided that we were not moving up on the list quickly enough. So, we parted ways with Alice and Jim.

We went to the motel, where Sharon discovered that we had forgotten Dominic's suitcase. Fortunately, she is supermom, and had spare cloths for him packed away. We ordered Pizza Hut and Dominic went swimming with Melissa and Sharon. I was tired and hungry, and I wasn't really in the mood for swimming. I'm glad the girls were, because Dominic really wanted to go. As it turned out, the water was freezing cold and Sharon didn't even get in, so I probably wouldn't have either. I like warm water! Melissa did swim with Dominic for a little bit Saturday night, and then again Sunday morning. We had a fun time in the hotel.

After we checked out, we ate at a Perkins across the street, and then headed toward Kansas City.

I had an excellent time at the zoo, as did everyone else. We all agreed that it lived up to our expectations, and that we would recommend the zoo to anyone.

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