I have heard that the Omaha zoo is one of the best in the country. I’ve been to lots of zoos across the country including the San Diego Zoo and the DC zoo and thought how could it be so good? We had been living in St. Louis as well and the zoo in St. Louis is free and the thought of paying to visit a zoo didn’t exactly thrill me. I mean we were at the zoo in St. Louis a few days before and then we drive to Omaha to pay to visit a zoo?
However, my friend Marissa said that if we’re visiting Omaha then we MUST visit the zoo. Marissa lived in Omaha for four years so she knew what she was talking about. She also recommended to spend the whole day there. I read some things about the zoo ahead of time and thought I was prepared for the zoo. However, I was totally blown away with how amazing it is. I knew to pack swim suits for my kids because I had heard there was a splash pad there. We were visiting in the summer time so we also packed lots of drinks, sunscreen and snacks. There are not more animals or more exotic animals there than other zoos but each exhibit is thoughtfully done.
An example of how the zoo’s exhibits are enriched is the elephant area. There is an elephant crate that you could walk through. I felt like I could get a good sense of how large these animals were. There was also a safari jeep and helicopter that the kids could climb in.
My son was reading the zoo map and his eyes immediately locked in on the children’s zoo area and it says “learn through play”. He kept saying we need to go to the children’s zoo because we learn through play. We came early and stayed till the end and we could have stayed longer at the zoo.
We learned the best time to see bald eagles in Missouri is the winter time. So, we bundled up on a windy, cold day where the highs were in the 30s and headed up to West Alton Missouri. We learned about this area of Missouri because of one of the families at our children’s elementary school. He grew up in St. Louis and told me they go eagle watching every winter and they will see 20-30 a day. He said they go to the confluence of the river. I learned that’s where the mighty Mississippi and Missouri rivers merge.
We missed the Eagle Sundays and Eagle Ice Festival that the Audubon Center at Riverlands hosts but we were still able to see eagles. We had no idea what to expect and were a little skeptical that we would see an eagle. The Audubon Center had spotting scopes (with step stools for the kids) that were free to use.
We went to Chicago with our kids in the winter time. Sounds crazy to visit the windy city at this time but my husband had a conference there so we tagged along. I knew I wanted to eat deep dish pizza and go up the Willis Tower. Other than that I wasn’t sure what Chicago had to offer. It turns out there are a lot of things to do there. We were there for three full days. The first two days I did by myself with the kids and the last day Matt was able to join us.