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Sign at the main entrance
|Date opened||1894 as Riverview Park Zoo|
|Location||Omaha, Nebraska, United States|
|Land area||Over 130 acres (53 ha)|
|No. of species||962|
|Major exhibits||Lied Jungle, Desert Dome, Kingdoms of the Night, Scott Aquarium, Cat Complex, Hubbard Gorilla Valley, Hubbard Orangutan Forest, African Grasslands|
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, located at 3701 South 10th Street. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Its mission is conservation, research, recreation, and education. In August 2014, TripAdvisor proclaimed Henry Doorly Zoo the "world's best zoo", leading San Diego Zoo and Loro Parque, based on an algorithmic assimilation of millions of reviews for 275 major zoos worldwide.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is nationally renowned for its leadership in animal conservation and research. Evolving from the public Riverview Park Zoo established in 1894, today the zoo includes several notable exhibits. It features the largest cat complex in North America; "Kingdoms of the Night" is the world's largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp; the Lied Jungle is one of the world's largest indoor rainforests, and the "Desert Dome" is one of the world's largest indoor deserts, as well as the largest glazed geodesic dome in the world. The zoo is Nebraska's top paid attendance attraction and has welcomed more than 25 million visitors over the past 40 years.
The zoo originally began in 1894 as Riverview Park Zoo. Four years later, it had over 120 animals. In 1952, the Omaha Zoological Society was created with aims to improve the zoo. In 1963, Margaret Hitchcock Doorly donated $750,000. In doing so, she stipulated that the zoo be renamed in memory of her late husband, Henry Doorly, chairman of the World Publishing Company. Union Pacific helped the zoo lay down 2.5 mi (4.0 km) of track in 1968 with the inaugural run of the Omaha Zoo Railroad made on July 22, 1968.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has two rides that circumnavigate the zoo (tram and train), a carousel and the Skyfari, an aerial tram which opened in 2009 and which takes visitors from the Butterfly and Insect Pavilion to the new lion viewing exhibit.
The zoo is adjacent to the former site of Rosenblatt Stadium. In 2011, the zoo began developing the land at former Rosenblatt Stadium to become the new parking area and visitor center, leaving a small memorial at the location of home plate. Rosenblatt was replaced by the new TD Ameritrade Park downtown.
This is a selected list of when buildings and exhibits were created:
The Lied Jungle opened on April 4, 1992, at a cost of $15 million. It is one of the largest indoor rainforest exhibits in the world; it occupies an 80-foot (24 m) tall building that spans 1.5 acres (0.61 ha) and is located just inside the main entrance. This exhibit allows visitors to look out from behind a 50-foot (15 m)-tall waterfall.
Inside are 123,000 ft2 (2.82 acres; 11,400 m2) of floor space, of which 61,000 ft2 (1.4 acres; 5,670 m2) are planted exhibit space; 35,000 ft2 (0.8 acres; 3,250 m2) are a display management area; and 11,000 ft2 (0.25 acres; 1,020 m2) are an education area.
Visitors can walk along a trail on the floor of the jungle, as well as on a walkway around and above the animals. Along both trails, about 90 species can be found, including:
Many different types of plant life also thrive throughout the jungle. The exhibit is broken up into sections by continent, including Asia, Africa, and South America.
Visitors to the jungle can view the indoor jungle through 90 ft (27 m) of floor-to-ceiling windows at the Durham's TreeTops Restaurant, which is next to the jungle. A portion of the electrical power needed for the jungle is provided by natural gas fuel cells. The jungle has won several awards, including "Single best zoo exhibit in the country" in 1994 by the Family Life Magazine; "Significant Achievement Award for Exhibit Design" in 1993 by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums; "Top ten designs in the world" in 1992 by Time, and "Top eight US engineering accomplishments" in 1992 by the National Society of Professional Engineers
Malayan tapir (with calf)
The Walter and Suzanne Scott Kingdoms of the Seas Aquarium, a public aquarium, opened on April 1, 1995, at a cost of $16 million. The building has 71,000 sq ft (6,600 m2) and contains a total of 1,200,000 US gal (4,500,000 l; 1,000,000 imp gal) of water. It was remodeled and opened again in April 5, 2012.
It features displays of aquatic habitats from polar regions, temperate oceans, the flooded Amazon rainforest, and coral reefs. The 450,000 US gal (1,700,000 l; 370,000 imp gal) shark tank features a 70 ft (21 m) shark tunnel at the bottom of the 17 ft (5.2 m)-deep tank. This tank features sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, and coral reef fish.
Other tanks include a jellyfish, and open-ocean schooling fish. A new addition is a portable touch tank which allows visitors to feel a shark's scales and the rubbery skin of a stingray. During warmer months, little penguins can be found outside near the entrance of the aquarium. The only freshwater display is of the Amazon rainforest that includes fish, invertebrates, turtles, and mammals (including common squirrel monkeys).
The aquarium features aquatic animals from around the world, including:
The Garden of the Senses opened in spring 1998 at a cost of $1.8 million. The garden is filled with plants, fountains, birds, a giant sundial, and more. Over 250 different species of herbs, perennials, and trees, as well as roses and other flowers, butterfly-friendly plants, and trellises. The birds include macaws, South American parrots, and Australian cockatoos.
The Desert Dome opened in April 2002 at a cost of $31.5 million (includes Kingdoms of the Night). It is one of the world's largest indoor deserts at around 42,000 ft2 (0.96 acres; 3,900 m2). Beneath the Desert Dome is the Kingdoms of the Night, and both levels make up a combined total of 84,000 sq ft (1.9 acres; 7,800 m2). The Desert Dome has geologic features from deserts around the world: Namib Desert of southern Africa, Red Center of Australia, and the Sonoran Desert of the southwest United States.
In addition to being one of the world's largest indoor deserts, the Desert Dome's geodesic dome is also the world's largest 'glazed' geodesic dome. The dome is 137 ft (42 m) above the main level and 230 ft (70 m) in diameter. The 1,760 acrylic windows with four shades (some clear) were placed to allow maximum shade in the summer and maximum light in the winter to reduce energy costs.
The Eugene T. Mahoney Kingdoms of the Night opened beneath the Desert Dome in April 2003 at a cost of $31.5 million (includes Desert Dome). Kingdoms of the Night is the world's largest nocturnal animal exhibit  at 42,000 ft2 (0.96 acres; 3,900 m2). Both the Kingdoms of the Night and the Desert combine to a total of 84,000 sq ft (1.9 acres; 7,800 m2). The Kingdoms of the Night features a wet cave (with a 14 ft or 4.3 m deep aquarium), a canyon, an African diorama, a eucalyptus forest, a dry batcave, and a swamp. The swamp is also the world's largest indoor swamp.
Some of the animals found at the Kingdom of the Night include:
The Hubbard Gorilla Valley is a gorilla exhibit named after Dr. Theodore Hubbard (a cardiologist from Omaha); it opened on April 8, 2004, at a cost of $14 million. Prior to being expanded and rebuilt, the Hubbard Gorilla Valley was the Owen Gorilla House. Some of the animals are:
The Hubbard Orangutan Forest opened in two phases during 2005 -- the first phase was opened in May and the second phase opened in late summer -- at a cost of $8.5 million. The first phase is the outdoor habitat that includes two 65-foot (20 m)-tall, 100-short-ton (91-metric-ton) Banyan trees interconnected with vines enclosed by a stainless steel netting. A 20-foot (6.1 m) waterfall is named after Claire Hubbard, the Orangutan Forest's primary donor. The second phase, the indoor habitat,t has 3,126 ft2 (0.07 acres; 290 m2).
The Cat Complex opened in 1977 at a cost of $2.5 million. The complex has 11 indoor enclosures and 10 outdoor enclosures with capacity up to 100 cats. The building is the largest cat-breeding and management facility in North America. The Cat Complex was awarded the "Edward H. Bean Award" (1994) for tiger husbandry by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is known worldwide for its work in the field of artificial insemination of large cats.
The complex contains nine species from the family Felidae:
The Durham Family Bear Canyon opened in 1989 at a cost of $1.4 million. The canyon has a large 30,000-U.S.-gallon (25,000 imp gal; 110,000 L) tank for polar bears.
The canyon has members of four species of the family Ursidae:
The Wild Kingdom Pavilion has been transformed into the Exploration Station exhibit, serving as a safari-themed "Trail Head" where visitors begin their "wild" adventure at Omaha's zoo. Mutual of Omaha's Exploration Station includes a detailed interactive map of the zoo and video previews of major attraction such as the Scott Aquarium, Lied Jungle, Desert Dome, and Hubbard Gorilla Valley and Orangutan Forest. The station also features the History of the Zoo, Explorer Zone Classroom, Discover Biodiversity area, a theater, and numerous live-animal displays and the animal demonstration stage.
The center of the Exploration Station features a 20-foot (6 m)-high netted tree, with free-flying birds. Below the tree includes water displays with turtles, archer fish, and more.
Situated inside the zoo's main entrance, the 21,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom Pavilion was completed in the spring of 1987. The membership drive theme was "Go Zoo U". More than 32,000 household membership were sold and over 600,000 visitors enjoyed this new complex its first year. The building currently houses reptiles, insects, amphibians, and small mammals, while also providing business offices, a 312-seat multimedia auditorium, and classrooms.
The building's original public area, or living classroom, houses part of the zoo's reptile collection, as well as a large number of invertebrates. The animal collection represents the tremendous diversity in the animal kingdom, and includes tarantulas, turtles, snakes, hedgehogs, and other small animals.
The Butterfly and Insect Pavilion is a 14,000-square-foot (1,300 m2), total-immersion exhibit located between the Scott Aquarium and the Giraffe Complex. Viewed from the sky, the exhibit resembles a winged insect.
The Simmons Aviary was opened in 1983, and is the world's third-largest free-flight aviary. It is home to about 500 birds from around the world. In this 4-acre (16,000 m2) exhibit, visitors see flamingos, ducks, swans, storks, cranes, spoonbills, ibis and egrets. The Aviary is 800 feet (240 m) long and rises to 75 feet (23 m) at the center. The structure is covered with 142,000 sq ft (13,200 m2) of two-inch nylon mesh that is supported by a system of cables and poles. The use of nylon instead of wire is a unique concept.
Expedition Madagascar opened May 7, 2010, and has many animals including lemurs, straw-coloured fruit bats, and giant jumping rats. The building of Madagascar gives the visitors a chance to learn more about an area of the world considered one of the top hotspots for biodiversity because it is home to the largest number of endemic, native only to this country, plant and animal species. Throughout the building, each exhibit is linked to ongoing projects in Madagascar.
After six years of planning and three years of construction, the 28-acre, $73 million African Grasslands exhibit opened to the public May 27, 2016. The exhibit is the zoo's largest project to date, and will feature giraffes, hoofstock, rhinos, and many other native species including six African elephants.
The zoo also features Lozier IMAX theater and many other exhibits. Other exhibits include Owen Sea Lion Pavilion, a petting zoo, an Indian rhino exhibit, the new Budgie Encounter, and many others. Many different animals have smaller, individual exhibits such as sea lions.
The Bill and Berniece Grewcock Center for Conservation and Research is a world-class research center at the zoo. The center has discovered several new species. The world's first in vitro-fertilized ("test-tube") gorilla resides at the zoo. The world's first artificially inseminated tiger was born in Omaha in 1991, followed by the world's first artificially inseminated gaur. The original 16,448-square-foot (1,528.1 m2) facility was constructed in 1996. In 2006, it underwent a $6 million expansion which brings the total space to 32,000 sq ft (3,000 m2).
The research center focuses on six areas:
A study led by Edward Louis, a conservation geneticist at the zoo, identified three new mouse lemurs (Simmons' mouse lemur, Mittermeier's mouse lemur, and Jolly's mouse lemur) with the first named after Lee Simmons, the zoo's director.
The Omaha Zoo Railroad is a 2.5-mile (4.0 km), narrow gauge train that loops through the zoo. The railroad began operations on July 22, 1968, after the track was laid down by the Union Pacific railroad. The train operates with one of two oil-powered steam locomotives. Riva is the newest locomotive owned by the zoo despite being manufactured first. It is about twice as powerful as the #119 and is regularly used on weekends when more visitors are present. The #119 is the original locomotive for the zoo. A new locomotive named "Virgie" arrived in September 2008. This diesel is styled with a face resembling "Virgie". It supplemented the steam locomotives beginning in 2009.
The tram is a trackless tram that drives on the walkway paths around the zoo. It has four stops:
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium opened the Skyfari in 2009. It is an aerial tram that runs from one stop at the Butterfly and Insect Pavilion to the lion platform. It goes over the African veldt (ostriches and giraffes), cheetahs, the railroad tracks, the Garden of the Senses, the koi lagoon, and the lions.
A carousel is available on which visitors can ride handcrafted recreations of wild animals.
The zoo offers many educational programs. The activities include school-involved programs, special "edzoocational" programs, zoo internships, animal-adoption, and volunteer work. Several programs include field trips, guided tours, educator workshops, Little Lion's Preschool, and two-way internet video conferencing to bring the zoo to the classroom. The edzoocational programs are educational programs that are taught in a nontraditional way. These programs include overnight camp-outs at the zoo, scouting programs, summer camps, birthday parties, and on-site speakers.