Children's Adventure Trails

Construction began: Spring 2015
Opened: June 2017
Cost: $27.5 Million

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium® opened Children’s Adventure Trails in June 2017. This interactive exhibit highlights kids’ learning through play in nature, and is located near the North Entrance and the Dick and Mary Holland Meadowlark Theater.

Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily

This children’s area sits on five acres of land and combines outdoor adventure with hands-on learning opportunities. The exhibit is made up of a variety of habitats, interactive animal exhibits and climbing areas allowing guests to learn through exploring. There are three distinct areas within the site: Children’s Adventure Trails, the Dick and Mary Holland Meadowlark Theater and the Education Building.

Children’s Adventure Trails
This portion incorporates kids’ interactive play around every turn. Near the entrance to Adventure Trails at the Raft Crossing, explorers use their developing physical abilities to pull themselves from one side of a pond to another in a small raft. Further down the trail, goats have access to walk overhead on boardwalks while kids engage in parallel play to test their balancing skills at Foothill Trails. Up the path and adjacent to the goats is Prairie Dog Trails, where children are able to immerse themselves in a prairie dog town by crawling through an underground tunnel and looking out of acrylic “bubbles” into the prairie dog habitat.

Four hundred gallons of water per minute flow for 250-feet throughout the space, creating a fully interactive (they can play in the water!) water stream, complete with four bridges and two fallen log crossings. Sandy banks along the stream encourage child’s play with shovels and pails available to use. A play area features enlarged objects for kids to climb on while mimicking insects and birds, including a Web Climber, a Honeycomb Climber and an oversized eagle’s nest. For kids in strollers, parents will find a Stroller Coaster – an area with small rolling inclines and textured surfaces that adults can roll their strollers over to give their little ones mini-thrills. Guests can also walk behind a waterfall and use Babble Flowers to talk to each other from distant ends of the play structures.

The highlight of Children’s Adventure Trails is a 40-foot-wide by three story tall Treehouse equipped with a shipwreck slide, climbing net, bridge and net covered climb-throughs, which allow kids to explore the Treehouse from bridge to bridge and pod to pod. Small primates play alongside adventurers in elevated shoots that run parallel to the Treehouse play areas. Climbers should make sure to stop by the Treehouse’s interactive platform where education facilitators will have different activities throughout the day.

Children’s Adventure Trails is one of the Zoo’s most interactive exhibits. Animal Ambassadors play a key role in the fun by bringing animals to our guests, allowing them to interact without barriers in two animal demonstration areas on the grassy Big Backyard.

Baby Care Station and Restroom
Guest amenities are an important aspect to this family-friendly area of the Zoo where guests have access to new restrooms and a Baby Care Station, both air conditioned areas. The Baby Care Station and Restroom area provides moms and dads with a private place to take care of little ones during their day at the Zoo and includes sinks, a microwave, eight changing stations, two private nursing rooms and two family restrooms with child-sized toilets. Programming provided by Nebraska PBS is played on a flat screen TV in the common area where families can cool down, unwind and take care of other needs.

Education Building
The Education Building is home to year-round programming, and provides educational space to more than 9,000 student visitors annually. The Zoo’s full-time high school, kindergarten and after school programs are all located within this state of the art building. The Education Building also houses seven classrooms and administrative areas for the zoo’s education as well as a small auditorium and an outdoor classroom.

The Zoo’s administration offices are also located in the Education Building.

The project contractor for Children’s Adventure Trails is Kiewit Building Group, Inc. Architect services were provided by DLR Group and CLR Design. Smith Bourne and Associates, Inc. is providing interior design services.

Funding for this project is through private donors, however funds are still being raised for Children’s Adventure Trails as part of the Zoo’s overall Master Plan Campaign.

Guests can visit OmahaZooFoundation.org to learn how you can help bring Children’s Adventure Trails to life.