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Largest Zoo in the World

Updated on March 6, 2014

Stop at the Best Zoo In America on Your Travels

The largest zoo in the world is found not only in the United States, but right in Omaha, Nebraska. The Henry Doorly zoo is not only the biggest tourist attraction in Nebraska, and if you love animals is worthy of being called a vacation destination for the whole family.

I have to admit, yes, I'm biased, I have lived in eastern Nebraska for over twenty years and we make a trip to the zoo at least once a year, and every trip we see something new, it never gets old. There is so much to see and do at the Omaha Zoo it would be impossible to see everything in one day. It is truly a weekend get away and vacation.

The indoor rainforest will take over an hour just to walk through and look at all the animals, and allow for at least an hour in the Aquarium. Kids will love walking through the underwater tunnel and watching sea turtles and sharks swim overhead.

In addition to the "normal" animal exhibits are the animal demonstrations (we never miss the sea lion show) and the interactive animal encounters in the Mutual of Omaha building.

Omaha Zoo Video
Omaha Zoo Video

Official Omaha Zoo Video

Created by the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo

Featuring the music from Mannheim Steamroller, and hosted by Dr. Lee Simmons, this commemorative DVD is a great way to relive your visit over and over again. Take a tour though the rainforest, desert, gorilla valley and learn what makes the Henry Doorly Zoo the #1 Zoo in Ameria.

It's not just the animals, which are great to watch, but spending the day or weekend at the Omaha zoo will be an educational experience for any family. School groups, home schooling families, and even Universities bring veterinary students to the Omaha zoo to learn about animal behavior, nutrition, and animal husbandry.

If you are thinking about visiting the Omaha Zoo you might want to purchase the Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo (Commemorative Zoo DVD)

to watch before your trip. Your zoo experience is further enhanced when you know the history and understand the mission and vision of this great zoo.

Kids Love the Zoo

Click for more of my photos from the Omaha Zoo
Click for more of my photos from the Omaha Zoo

Kids Love the Omaha Zoo - Make Your Zoo Visit Kid Friendly: keep your visit safe

It doesn't matter when you visit the Omaha zoo there will be lots of people, lots of kids, lots of excitement, and lots of ways to lose track of your child.

I took my kids to the zoo at least once a year, more when they were younger. They now bring their friends when they come home to visit. The photo of the kids climbing on the rhino is a favorite photo opp area and it's fun see watch how they grow over the years.

There are so many kid friendly exhibits where they can touch and get really close to the animals. The secret to taking your kids to the zoo is patient, food, drinks, and knowing how to keep track of their whereabouts.

12 Plush Animal Print Ears with Plush Headbands
12 Plush Animal Print Ears with Plush Headbands

If you are taking a large group preschool or kindergarden of kids to the zoo it is very helpful to have them wear the same colored shirt, hat, or even these very fun animal ears.

To find the missing child in your group you just have to scan the tops of kids to find out who is wearing the ears. Makes a great souvenir and

Children's Soft n Plush Winter Animal Hats (Monkey)
Children's Soft n Plush Winter Animal Hats (Monkey)

Every child needs a monkey hat! Ok, maybe not everychild, but they would want a monkey hat, especially during a zoo trip. This cute plush monkey hat will make it easier to find your young child in a crowd.

Visiting the zoo during the winter is probably one of the best times because the crowds are smaller.

The Omaha Zoo has so many inside buildings: Jungle, Desert, Aquarium, Wild Animal Kingdom, Gorilla Valley, Butterfly Pavillion, that you can spend a whole afternoon and rarely go outside.


Largest Zoo Aquarium - You doubt me,..check out these videos

The penguins have to be my favorite exhibit at the Omaha zoo. Watching them jump, swim and play is just fascinating. The fact that a penguin can be clumsy on land and then so fast and graceful in the water is fascinating.

in 2013 the Scott Aquarium in Omaha was remodeled and the jelly fish exhibit was just one of the

click to see more of my zoo photos
click to see more of my zoo photos

Omaha Zoo: More Than Just Animals

Omaha Zoo is Involved in Conservation and Research

The Center of Conservation and Research at the Henry Doorly Zoo is involved in conservation science with many different projects around the world. Some of the fields include molecular genetics, reproductive physiology, nutrition, plant microbiology and conservation medicine.

Veterinarians and researchers travel to world to help protect rare and endangered species in the wild from lemur research in Madagascar, to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Behavior sciences and animal husbandry concentrates on the psychological well-being of the animals which has a huge affect on their physiological health and life.

In collaboration with other zoos around the world the Conservation center provides scientific information on the most sensitive of our animal kingdoms and ecosystems including rare plants, and propagation methods to restore and rare plants in the disappearing rainforests. Methods have been developed at the Omaha zoo for long term storage and propagation of seeds through cryogenic techniques and spore banking.

Job shadowing positions , Internship, externships and research positions are available for students who wish to learn more about conservation, zoo careers, or animal science.

click to see more of my photos from the zoo
click to see more of my photos from the zoo

Garden of the Senses

Touch, feel, listen and smell

The Omaha Zoo has done a fabulous job with creating an exhibit especially for people who are physically challenged. The Garden of the Senses is filled with over 250 different species of aromatic herbs, flowers, perennial and trees to touch and smell.

Tactile learners can touch life size bronze statues of a gorilla or rhinoceros. There are fountains and running water to listen gurgle, touch, and play "leaf races" down the stream. My kids are adults now and that is still one of their favorite memories of the Garden is picking a leaf and watching it go down the stream.

Animal Conservation at the Omaha Zoo

Plants and insects are some of the fastest disappearing species on the planet. At the Omaha Zoo the orchid breeding program is one of the conservation programs in the Lied Jungle

So much of the indoor rainforest at the zoo is built around not only animal education, but plant and animal conservation and breeding. This largest indoor rain forest is home to hundreds of tropical and endangered plants and animals.

A big part of the mission at the Omaha Zoo is education and conservation. If they can inspire, educate and mentor future conservationists and wildlife educators future generations will respect nature, wildlife and animals and take care of their habitat in the future.

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Largest Rainforest in the World - Ok, largest INDOOR rainforest

Bats and birds fly free in the Omaha jungle at the zoo. You never know what you will find around every corner of the indoor rainforest at the zoo.

Training Zoo Animals - Enrichment and training of zoo animals

It is very important to train zoo animals on a daily basis and enforce positive enrichment behaviors. When a lion or a tiger will come up willingly to the fence to be hand fed, that means the veterinarians job of giving medication will be easier also.

Zoo keepers can daily examine the eyes, feet, and skin of the animals in their care and watch for signs of illness when they can get up close and personal to them on a daily basis.

Below are a few of the ways the zoo keepers at the Omaha zoo train and enrich the lives of the animals at the zoo.

Where is the Henry Doorly Zoo - How do I get to the Omaha Zoo

If you are needing directions for the Omaha zoo you will find it in the map below. The Henry Doorly Zoo is located just one block off I-80 in Omaha Nebraska or a few miles from I-29 going north of Kansas City by about three hours.

The next time you take a family cross country vacation plan on stopping for the day, or take a weekend if you want to see the whole zoo. It truly is a vacation destination with fun for the whole family.

Worlds Largest Desert - Ok, Worlds largest Indoor Desert

Did you know that Omaha is also the home to the largest indoor desert? That's right, the zoo took the opposite approach to rainforest ecosystem and built a geometric dome and placed the largest indoor desert and nocturnal exhibit inside.

No matter what the season the desert is very comfortable, in the winter you visit to get warm and in the summer the dry atmosphere of the desert climate makes if feel almost cool.

Planting new cactus inside the Desert Dome at the Henry Doorly Zoo. Watch the free flight birds fly around, it's almost as though they are waiting for their new home to arrive.

Worlds largest nocturnal exhibit. My kids love going down into the under ground caves under the desert. The challenge is to see if you can see the beavers in their den and the numerous bats and animals in the caves.

8 Largest Zoos in the World - According to Touropia

In January of 2014 Touropia awarded the Omaha Henry Doorly zoo the recognition of being the largest zoo in the world. Below are links to each of the 8 largest zoos in the world and what makes each unique.

Books about Zoo Animals - Learn about Zoo Vets

I know a lot of zoo veterinarians (during my career as an animal nutritional specialist with Oxbow Animal Health) and I had the opportunity to visit behind the scenes at many zoos across the country.

Zoo veterinarians are responsible for not only keeping entire collections healthy and healing wounds and maladies caused by accidents and every day misshaps, but they are also responsible for breeding programs, vaccinations, deworming, and in many cases the nutritional programs of the zoo animals at the the zoo.

The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes: And Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and their Patients
The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes: And Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and their Patients

What do you do to bandage a foot of a Rhinoceros who steps on a thorn? Can't just use a Band-Aid.

Zoo veterinarians have to be creative and imaginative in treating the large and small exotic animals in their care. Normal veterinary approaches for splints, bandages, and techniques for dogs and cats just won't work for an elephant or a tiger.

Zoo Vet: Adventures of a Wild Animal Doctor
Zoo Vet: Adventures of a Wild Animal Doctor

I read this book when I was in high school and the cover is just about worm off from reading it over and over again.

Technology and science has advanced quite a bit since the 1960s and 70's but it's fun to read about the vet having to take home abandoned baby kangaroos to bottle feed round the clock.

Larry Steps Into the Ring
Larry Steps Into the Ring

Larry the Cable Guy visits the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo his popular television show Only in America. See what makes the Omaha zoo special and why Larry the Cable Guy loves Omaha, Nebraska and the zoo.

If you aren't a fan of his humor you will be surprised. Larry, who is originally from Nebraska, takes on a very serious, but lighthearted tone in this show.


Omaha Zoo Memorabilia - Forgot a souvenir from the Omaha Zoo

I'll bet there is something on eBay which will remind you of your zoo visit, maybe even something vintage of an animal or favorite exhibit that no longer exists. Send a memory of your families favorite place to a son or daughter who lives far away.

What is your favorite zoo or zoo animal? Share with others what makes your zoo special and why you like to visit.

Favorite Zoo Animal - What is your favorite zoo animal?

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    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      The Lion!

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 4 years ago

      The panda! Here in Wash DC, one of the pandas had a new cub in August 2013. Her name is Bao Bao and she will be on view for the public beginning Jan. 18, 2014. I probably won't go right away since the crowds will be insane.

    • ThreeQuarters2Day profile image

      Dawn Romine 4 years ago from Nebraska

      @smine27: Thank you for the comments, greatly appreciated, if you get into Omaha I'll give you a personal tour.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I love zoos so I'm very interested in seeing this place. Congrats on the purple star!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      One of my sons in particular would love to go to this zoo!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      I like them all. I'm impressed by the size of this zoo. That's amazing. If I'm ever in Omaha, I'll have to visit.