Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo Master Plan

The Master Plan is the culmination of many months of work. It incorporates visitor experiences and amenities, state-of-the-art animal habitats that reflect the latest husbandry knowledge, and a place to instruct the next generation of wildlife biologists. The Master Plan provides for a dedicated service path around the Zoo with access to animal holding areas that leave the sidewalks to our guests and addresses steep walkways. Older vintage exhibits will be replaced with exhibits measured in partial or whole acres for large animals that live in social groups such as elephants, rhinos and lions.  Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium Director and CEO Dennis Pate said, “We are all excited about the possibilities of building on a great zoo.”

Gateway to the Wild Capital Campaign 
Gateway to the Wild is Phase 1 of the Master Plan.  The campaign is to enhance the visitors experience by adding and improving guest amenities from 13th Street through the main entrance and ending at the Scott Aquarium for a total cost of $33 million.  Improvements include:

Future Exhibits Include:

African Grasslands
Phase 1 - Expansion of the existing giraffe exhibit will include antelope species. This phase will include new state-of-the-art elephant and cheetah habitats replacing dated hoofstock and zebra enclosures and a new hippo exhibit, event lawn and expanded and enhanced Garden of the Senses.

Phase 2 - This redeveloped zone is located at the former elephant and rhino site at the eastern end of the Zoo, will showcase savanna predator and prey species including lions, wild dogs, rhinos, and one of the largest sable herds in the United States. This area also includes the possibility of Nile crocodiles. An African Village hub will include restrooms and the opportunity for guests to purchase food, drinks and gifts. This area will also include an overnight bush camp concept near the African Village.

Asian Highlands
New anchor exhibit attraction winding through an existing undeveloped forest valley and hillside featuring the Zoo’s tiger collection. Other species would include leopard, takin, gaur, camel, red panda, sun bear and birds. A visitor food, gift and restroom cluster will be at the base of the main path.

Andean Foothills
New anchor exhibit attractions at the northwest corner of the Zoo featuring South American predators including Andean bears, jaguars, and puma, as well as Chilean flamingos and a diverse array of birds, and reptiles. A themed village with restrooms, and food and gift shop will anchor the entry and exit to this new attraction.

Coastal Shores
New sea lion and polar bear exhibits surrounding a North American coastal themed children’s splash zone and play area. This will be located adjacent to the existing carousel area on the site formally occupied by bears, swan valley and points north. This area will also include family changing areas, a café with food and drink, and trellis sheltered seating for parents and families.

Equatorial Africa
Expanding on the success of adjacent Hubbard Gorilla Valley, this project will add Central Africa forest dwellers such as okapi, red river hogs, and bongo, as an immersive outdoor forest trail experience. This will also include enhancing the existing gorilla food service and restroom cluster along with a new outdoor seating plaza.

Adventure Education
New Adventure Education hub, located northwest of and adjacent to the Desert Dome, with special classrooms linked to active hands-on laboratories, small mammal exhibits, and adventure play areas. This area includes a 350 student kindergarten and high school which expands our commitment to education which is a key component to our mission statement. A new dedicated Children’s Zone with rides, exhibits, play areas, splash zones, snack and gift, and a shaded plaza and garden with seating for parents. A snack and beverage and outdoor trellis covered seating where families can sit and watch their kids play.

Komodo Dragon Exhibit
This exhibit will be new to our collection and will provide a major attraction that will help with the transformation of the Desert Dome plaza area.

Parking and Facilities Support

To download the Master Plan Executive Summary, please click here.  To download the Master Plan Conceptual Framework, please click here.