Henry Doorly Zoo

2010-10-05T22:49:22.293-07:00

This past weekend I went to visit one of my favorite places to go when I was growing up, the Henry Doorly Zoo.

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This is the Desert Dome, it is the largest indoor desert in the world and also the largest glazed geodesic dome in the world.

When I was young I was obsessed with animals. Lucky for me, in 1992 when I was in second grade the Henry Doorly Zoo opened its Lied Jungle attraction, a large indoor jungle that to a nerdy animal obsessed seven year old, was about the coolest damn thing in the universe. Which it kind of was/is to be fair. You could walk through this massive open jungle and the animals were like right there, monkeys, macaws, river otters, all were roaming around with only the larger animals kept stationed off, and even then it is a way that doesn't make it feel like a separation.

Once they opened the Lied Jungle, in pretty much every grade from 2nd to my Freshman year of High School the school came up with some excuse to go visit the Zoo. Though looking back, about 1/2 the trips were related to the public schools "Challenge" program... which goes by various names from schoold district to school district anything from "Highly Capable Program" to "Gifted Program" etc. They are all just euphemisms for "The kids that we haven't given up on and will probably go to college". It wasn't until I was in College until I realized how B.S. that whole system was, or just how effective it is.. but I will leave the topic of America's secret selective public education program for another post.

In this post, is just a bunch of nostalgia about a great zoo that I really enjoyed as a kid and now as an adult.

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So the first stop once entering the park is usually pictures by the Lion Statue in the main court, seeing as it was swarming with children and tourists I don't have a good picture of it but you can see it at a fellow Zoo lovers flickr here,sans people. NExt stop was the Desert Dome, which was the first picture, to warm up with the little fellow in this picture.

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There are a lot of pictures to covers so I will only pop in from time to time to make the odd comment about where in the park it was taken etc. Please Enjoy.

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One of the things that Henry Doorly Zoo is awarded and mentioned for, time and time again is their efforts for conservation and education. This is a three legged cat, given a home in one of the best zoos in the U.S. There are often stories about illegally obtained animals found in various bad situations that get brought to the zoo to recuperate and to be re-introduced in the wild. Sometimes they can't be re-introduced, so they get to stay at the zoo. Pretty good deal I think.

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Love the look on this guys face... I could really see this picture being used for a Sad Keanue picture or perhaps his own meme.

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Not the best picture technically, but it reminded me of the old creature feature movies I used to watch as a kid featuring a "giant dinosaur" that was actually a lizard like this given some extra cardboard spikes.

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Kookaburra! Love the bird, hate the song, love the licorice.

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Something that is really nice about going to the Zoo now that I have a decent camera is these little hidden glimpses I could get that other people would miss out on because the animals were shy.

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But then again, sometimes they were not so shy.

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Beneath the Desert Dome is a nocturnal and swamp animal exhibit. Understandably, it is dark and difficult to take pictures. As a responsible visitor I turned off my flash (I rarely use it anyway) and bumped up the exposure time to compensate, which still led to very few pictures being usable (I didn't have a tripod or the patients). Everyone else around me it seemed, just didn't give a fuck and were flashing away like crazy and got all grumpy when the animals scattered like leaves in the wind. One guy had one of those flashes that goes like a million times a second before it finally takes a picture. I am surprised some of the animals down their don't get seizures. I tried discussing in not to subtle tones to my group of compatriots that went with me about how I had adjusted my camera to take night pictures instead of using the flash since it was prohibited. Nobody noticed and I probably came off as a pretentious jerk for doing it... oh well.. at least I was a well intentioned jerk? Maybe?

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I really like the cave area down here. This was my second time seeing it, the first time this "bottomless hole" totally messed with my perceptions until I saw a penny on the surface of a mirror beneath the water. I imagine someone though it was a wishing well.

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This exhibit had a lot of "Damn Nature, you Scary" creatures...

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Back on the surface a quick trot past the gorillas on the way to another exhibit. They are not my favorite creatures, spend far to much time with their hands in their own and others excrement. Ewww...

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These guys were cute... they were along the way but I couldn't tell what exhibit they belonged to.

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This guy lived with them.

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Next up was the Aviary which I believe used to be a wolf exhibit at one time or at least I remember a wolf exhibit that was built in a similar fashion.

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Next up was the Bear exhibit. There was only one Polar Bear out today abut he was looking pretty spiffy.

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Some of the parks wild and roaming Peacocks. Though I guess technically this is a Peahen... and peachick?

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The Next Exhibit was new and was called "Exhibition Madagascar", as you can imagine.. it was largely lemurs. Not that there is anything wrong with that but after you see them go into a toxic froth dream land you look at them differently.

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Quick Map check.

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Across the Koi Bridge.

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OMG! Kill it with fire! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!

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That's better... thought the water looks a bit... thick....

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Sup Old world monkeys! Definitely heading into the older parts of the park now.

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In the concessions and petting zoo area. I would suggest petting a swan. They are mean.

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Here we are at the oldest part of the park with some of the oldest residents.

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Disused trolly.

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Active Train.

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Believe it or not, but there is a Cheetah in this picture. I was surprised too, I thought they were putting me on..

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All Glory to the Wizard Pig!

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Hobbit pigs.

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Gandalf Pig.

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Another snack area.

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Are these all the same bird or is the gray blue thing just really popular among disparet bird species.

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Next up was the insect pavilion where the main attraction was the butterfly enclosure. It was super sealed off and they were acting all the fuss about how much trouble they would get in if anything from the butterfly dome escaped. Like all the plants and butterfly's in there were dangerous no holds barred MMA fighters that would totally fuck up the Nebraska ecosystem if they got out. If you lived here you would understand how silly that thought is. The weather in Nebraska is specifically designed to Fuck everything else up. Nebraska weather juices before the match and wraps its fists in rope, wax, and broken glass when it gets in a fight. It doesn't lose often.. unless some kind of Van Damme creature comes along...

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The butterfly exhibit is one of the few exhibits where you get to see the bodies of the mudered past enhabitents...

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The rest of the insect exhibit was pretty terrifying... I didn't take many pictures, except for this guy. I don't know what he was doing there. Perhaps he was lost.

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Next up was the Scott Aquarium which was opened when I was in 5th grade and totally obsessed with Puffins for some reason...

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Not Penguins though, everyone else like penguins... conformists...

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There is a really sweet underwater tunnel that you can walk through and see sharks swimming over you and the like. I didn't get many pictures in here because for some reason it had people lounging all the fuck over the place like it was some kind of nap room. Seriously.. fuckers were laying on the fucking wall. Not just teenagers and kids either, god damn adults were sitting around and chatting like I wanted to see them in their jorts and windbreaker jackets instead of the magestic shark that is now obscured by their fucking ass and fanny pack.

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Another pet peeve I had at the zoo was adults mis-educating their children when there was a fucking sign telling them what the creature was. This happened a lot in the Cat area later, and here a proud parent told their kid about these "piranhars" that would eat them up if they fell in the tank. Right.. except they arn't, and the worst that would probably happen would be the child would drown being tickled to death. Considering the fine education his parents were giving him.. that may be the kindest way to go...
I am just saying.. if your going to be wrong, at least be kind of correct when your wrong.. like tell your kid.. "oh look at those fish", then at least you have some truth to your statement. Unless your looking at a whale.. in which case its a mammal. GET SOME FUCKING ZOO BOOKS PEOPLE!

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Oh look Jelly Fish!

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Next up was the Cat area. Another older area of the park but kept up pretty well.

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Tiger cub!!

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The Cats are cycled between an inside and outside enclosure, this guy was pretty pissed about having to be inside.

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One thing about the cats is that they are either hiding and sleeping or moving way to fast for a decent picture.

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Or the only view they present is less than flattering.

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Tiger cub again.

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Another issue is getting the camera to focus on the cat who is doing a good job of eluding the focus via camouflage.

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Some more concessions.

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Back past the Desert Dome.

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Finish the trip up with a visit to the Leid Jungle, where I have my first memories of the zoo.

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Well this concludes my trip to the zoo. After this was the gift shop, where I was disappointed in not finding a WWF (World Wildlife Fund) shirt, and then a long drive home.

I was going to touch on how parts of the park had fallen into disrepair and it kind of saddened me to see it in that state... until I read this article which made me feel better.The few parts of the zoo that need work, are indeed going to be worked on quite a bit and the Henry Doorly Zoo is going to be bigger and better than ever in the coming years, so if you find yourself in Nebraska I highly encourage you to check it out!



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