Midwest Road Trip 2022: Day 2/9
Jeremy and I woke up early on the morning of October 23, 2022. We wanted to get an early start on the day since we were wanting to make it to Omaha and go to the Henry Doorly Zoo.
We packed up our suitcases and went to have breakfast - it was rather disappointing.
Before we left Kearney, Nebraska, we stopped by the town sign so that I could take pictures of Jeremy with it.
Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium
We went straight to Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska from Kearney, Nebraska.
The first exhibit we saw was the aquarium.
The penguin enclosure was very nice and spacious.
The aquarium had the glass "tunnel" you could walk through where the water is all around you. This area had sharks, fish, sting rays, and sea turtles! I love sea turtles.
This aquarium has an excellent jellyfish exhibit. We learned that there is a variety of sea nettles - I had previously only known of the Pacific sea nettle.
After the aquarium, we went and visited the okapi. There was a calf, but he/she stayed mostly out of sight behind the fence. The okapi cow we saw was Kali, and the bull was Jabari. The calf's name was Lucky.
We headed down a path to go see the Meerkats. We only saw one, which in our experience with other zoos, is unusual. However, there were two klipspringer in the meerkat exhibit, and they were adorable! Klipspringer are dwarf antelopes who typically live amongst small rocks called "kopje" (Coh-Pee).
We walked further down the path and were greeted by a large grasslands area featuring rhinos, kudu, impalas, and giraffes! There was an indoor area called the Giraffe Herd Room, where there was a young giraffe with its mother. The cow was named Betty Francis, the bull was Jawara, and the calf was Arthur.
Next up was the elephants. We went to the Elephant Family Headquarters, where we were surprised to find an elephant calf! Neither one of us had ever seen a baby elephant in person before, so it was so cool to see this baby being so active in front of us in the exhibit. She was so small that we thought she must be a newborn, but a zookeeper let us know that she was already nine months old! Her name was Eugenia (You-Jee-Nee-Ah), born to Kiki (cow) and Callee (bull).
We left the Elephant Family Headquarters to discover there were more elephants - and a SECOND baby! This one was a boy named Sonny, born to Claire (cow) and Callee (bull).
We were very hungry by this time, and we stopped to have lunch at Truhlsen African Lodge. We both had chicken strips and fries - the menu didn't have a lot of options.
We made our way over to the Safari when we were done eating. There were little finches all around us, waiting for a fry to drop.
We saw a few bongos. Unfortunately, we did not see cheetahs, and the lions were hiding inside. We did get to see a few sable antelopes.
The next area in the zoo was the Asian Highlands. We saw several rhinos, and inside the same enclosure were Pére David deer. In a separate enclosure were tufted deer, which are small and extremely cute!
The sloth bear was barely visible, as it was hiding by its door to its indoor enclosure.
An Amur tiger was prowling around.
We got a small glimpse of the snow leopard, napping near its door, we got to see takin grazing, and we got to see muntjac.
Hubbard Gorilla Valley
Jeremy and I crossed over to Hubbard Gorilla Valley, where we saw a few silverbacks and two babies! One baby gorilla was definitely older than the other. The older one was a boy named Kgosi (Goh-Zee), born to Timu (gorilla) and Tambo (silverback). The younger baby was a girl named Zuri, born to Bambio (gorilla) and Tambo.
Owen Sea Lion Shores
Next, we saw the sea lions and the seals. This area was so crowded, and the glass was so dirty, that it was difficult to get a good view of the animals.
Mahoney Kingdoms of the Night
We made a terribly long, uphill trek to the Desert Dome. Turns out the desert portion was closed, but the underground exhibit called Mahoney Kingdoms of the Night was open. We got to see a faux cave, a swamp, and a cavern filled with bats, bugs, and other critters such as porcupines, beavers, gators, crocs, and viscacha.
After the zoo, we went shopping at several stores to look at board games and used video games. Here are the stores we stopped at in case you are curious want some intel on these stores in Omaha:
We headed to downtown Omaha to Old Market, where the cobblestone streets are. We strolled around, deciding if we wanted to do any shopping, and one store caught our eye: The Imaginarium Mercantile. We would go back to this store as well if we were to find ourselves in Omaha again in the future - they had everything nerdy.
I was determined to find if this restaurant that I ate at as a child in Omaha still existed. I had very little to go off of - I remember the first time I ever had mozzarella sticks was at this restaurant, that they had red and white checkered table cloths, and that we ate on a patio area that went right up to the street. Lo and behold - I think we actually found it. Jeremy and I ended up eating dinner at The Old Spaghetti Works, which had the patio, the tablecloths, but was missing the mozzie sticks. However, I asked the waitress about mozzie sticks, and she said it used to be on the menu.
The Old Spaghetti Works had an excellent salad bar and good pasta.
After we ate, we went to Spielbound, a board game store and cafe. They did not have a large selection games, and unfortunately the coffee wasn't great. Ope.
We ended up going to Target before heading to the hotel and we found an Iowa Starbucks ornament for my collection.
That was the final errand, and we got some well-deserved sleep that evening.