From Land To Sea
Nebraska has an impressive collection of zoos and aquariums, some of which are classified as world-class destinations.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Omaha is proud of its zoo for good reason since it features some top animal attractions — its Kingdoms of the Night display is the world's largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp while the Desert Dome boasts being the largest indoor desert. The Lied Jungle is one of the largest indoor rain forest exhibits while the largest cat complex in North America is also found here. Expect to spend all day here.
Location: 3701 S. 10th St., Omaha, NE 68107
Rates: Adults/$13.50, ages 3-11/$9, 2 and under/free
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium consists of 12,000 square feet and features an aquarium, terrarium and natural history classrooms. Kids love exploring the 12 display tanks and especially the extra-large tank that holds 1,450 gallons of water. The number of species on display is impressive and includes sauger, rainbow trout, redear sunfish and shiners. But this aquarium has more than fish. In the Reptiles and Amphibians section you can find a variety of turtles, leopard frogs, tiger salamanders, crawdads and more.
Location: 21502 W. Highway 31, Gretna, NE 68028
Rates: Adults/$1, children age 6-15/50 cents, age 5 and under/free.
Pioneers Park Nature Center
Pioneers Park Nature Center's 668 acres are teeming with tallgrass prairie, woodlands, wetlands and even a quaint stream as well as interpretive buildings which allow guests to explore and have hands-on opportunities with the small animals. Visitors should wear their hiking boots to explore the eight miles of hiking trails that pass through a variety of habitats which include bison, elk and white-tailed deer herds.
Location: 3201 S. Coddington Ave., Lincoln, Nebraska 68522
Lincoln Children's Zoo
As a favorite Lincoln attraction, this zoo provides families with endless opportunities, and there always seems to be something new popping up. For example, the red panda recently welcomed a new family member named Sophia, and two male peccaries have recently called the zoo their new home. Zoo guests get to see and meet a wide selection of animals including wallabies, macaws and Galapagos tortoises. In addition, other special opportunities include getting to hold flying squirrels. For a few dollars, kids can enjoy the Wrangler Roundup, horse riding experience or a camel ride.
Location: 1222 S. 27th St., Lincoln, NE 68502
Rates: Adults/$7.25, children ages 2-12/$6.25, 2 and under/free
Riverside Discovery Center
Lucky for Scottsbluff, four non-profit organizations have merged to make one major nature-inspired destination — Riverside Zoological Foundation, Riverside Zoological Society, Children's University and Wyo-braska Natural History Museum/Wildlife World have made Riverside Discovery Center. This all-in-one tourist destination will still feature the gorgeous botanical gardens, a walk-through flight aviary and endangered species including Amur tigers, golden-headed lions and swift fox. Don Steen's Wildlife World, a museum of natural science, will continue to present over 500 animals from seven continents.
Location: 1600 S. Beltline Highway W, Scottsbluff, NE, 69361
Rates: Adults/$6, children ages 5-12/$4, ages 4 and under/free
Image courtesy Riverside Discovery Center