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During our Christmas break trip back to Nebraska, we enjoyed some unseasonably warm weather at the Henry Doorley Zoo (Maybe, deep down–subconsciously even–that’s why we named our son Henry…). If there’s one thing I love, it’s animals and if I get the chance to be up close with some that I don’t see every day, I’m going to make everyone else suffer enjoy it with me.

Ahhh, humidity!

By far one of my favorite exhibits is the Lied jungle–a huge, indoor rainforest that hosts dozens of creatures from around the world. We all took off our coats (thank goodness I was pushing a stroller so I could push around the coats instead of, I don’t know, children) the second we walked into the steamy, humid building and walked out onto the upper platform where we could overlook the lower levels and be at tree level with some of the animals.

“Hi, Jack and Evelyn!”

Evelyn immediately said, “Nope,” and walked back to the entrance and refused to go any further. Why? She hates being up high with only glass between her and falling. She inherited that fear of heights from me. You’re welcome, Evelyn!


One of the best parts of the Lied Jungle is how interactive it is. There are waterfalls to walk under…

…vines to climb and duck under…
…creaky, swinging bridges to traverse…
…tree roots to circle…
…animals to closely observe…
I dare you to touch that iguana, Henry!
…sometimes, really closely.
I think we should build our own jungle here. I mean, Jack would love the plants and I’d enjoy the animals. It’d be a win-win!

After the rainforest, we headed over to the aquarium that boasts an incredible tunnel, so visitors can truly appreciate being submersed in with the sea creatures.


It wouldn’t be a real trip to the zoo without seeing some elephants, either. I’d read about the zoo rescuing a group of elephants who’d been living on a wildlife reserve in Africa. The area was suffering a drought and the elephant population was putting a strain on the rhino population, which is much more endangered than elephants. It was an ideal solution to the potential problem and the elephants seem to be content in their new home.

It’d be so neat to have peacocks!

By the time we were done, we were all tired and had seen so many animals we were about to be crosseyed. I figure if not the farm, a zoo will do when it comes to satiating my neverending curiosity when it comes to animals.

Henry would climb on the back of a polar bear if he had the chance.

It was a fun day, spent with cousins and surrounded by all kinds of beautiful critters. Looking forward to a return trip someday and if you’re ever in Omaha, make sure you visit!

I want a statue like that in my yard!

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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