Dick and Mary Holland Meadowlark Theater

Dick and Mary Holland
Meadowlark Theater

Opened on June 15, 2017, the Dick and Mary Holland Meadowlark Theater features a Birds of Flight Program highlighting 15 of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium’s bird species, including Harris Hawks, Guinea Fowl, Red Front Macaws and Blue and Gold Macaws. All 35 birds participating in the program are fully flighted birds that fly specific paths or demonstrate specific behaviors for the audience. The Birds of Flight Program is an educational and interactive experience where viewers will learn about the different species of birds, their habitats and what we can all do to make a difference for wildlife.
 
Closed for the season.

The overall message of the Birds of Flight program is one of conservation. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium would like to empower guests to make small changes in their daily lives to help wildlife, such as reusing water bottles to help keep plastic out of the ocean and unplugging electrical cords while they are not in use. Trainers will help spread the message that every person can make a change, no matter how small, and that when those little changes build upon each other, they can impact wildlife in a large way. The Birds of Flight Program will also highlight conservation efforts the Zoo participates in, such as the Madagascar Biodiversity Project.

Throughout each program, birds utilize six different perimeter launch perches, which are placed around and within the seating area, allowing guests to be face-to-face with the action. Guinea Fowl run through the crowd to three different feeders stationed in each section of seating before flying back to the stage at the cue of a rattlesnake’s rattle; Quaker Parrots build a nest on stage; Macaws take flight around the Theater– these are just a few of the incredible behaviors attendees will get to witness. Trainers encourage guests to ask questions throughout the Birds of Flight Program and are available for a “meet and greet” following the conclusion of the program.

Within the 8,700 square foot theater, there is space for more than 400 attendees on the stone-made bleacher style seating. The performance stage features a tree, which will be used as a landing area during the program, and a beautiful two story backdrop showcasing colorful plants and flowers.
 
A state of the art sound system plays fun, bird-centered songs as guests are seated to set the tone for the program. Hand held microphones, over the ear microphones and four hanging speakers allow guests in every corner to hear the programs clearly. Neutral cloth canopies provide shade for guests.

Stroller parking areas are available outside of each entrance for convenience to caretakers. The theater is wheelchair accessible at both the lower and upper level entrances. On power lines near the Meadowlark Theater, OPPD has installed bird diverters, which are yellow coils used to help birds identify power lines and avoid injury. These important tools, both inside and outside of the Zoo, are highlighted in each program. 

Behind the scenes, birds are housed in a 2,266 square foot building that includes outdoor space, a netted behavior training area, and mews to house hawks and owls. Birds from the program have been in training at the Zoo since their arrival on April 17, 2017.