Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is pleased to announce the reopening of the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium and Desert Dome on Wednesday, June 24. Along with welcoming guests back into these exhibits, the Zoo is also excited to announce the completion of the Scott Aquarium renovation.
“Beginning to open indoor exhibits is a day we have been looking forward to. We are thrilled to welcome visitors back into the Aquarium and Dome,” said Dennis Pate, President and CEO of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. “We continue to take one careful step at a time and remain focused on the safety and health of our animals, visitors and Zoo staff.”
The decision to allow visitors into buildings was made based on the most recent health and safety guidelines provided by the governor’s office. A risk assessment was also completed in the animal areas. As a result, the Zoo is requiring masks for guests entering buildings to protect the animals. Children under five are exempt from this rule, as well as those who have medical concerns. The mask requirement is temporary as we fight coronavirus as a community.
Stingray Beach and the Gift Shop have also opened, and Skyfari is operating on weekends. Indoor capacity guidelines will be managed to maintain a 50 percent occupancy rate. The Main Entrance can be used for both entry and exit to the Zoo, while the North Gate is exit only for now. Eugene T. Mahoney Kingdoms of the Night, located below the Desert Dome, is not open. Drinking fountains and water refill stations will remain unavailable, as well as the tram service. A limited supply of stroller, wagon, ECVs and wheelchair rentals will be available.
To limit contact, encourage social distancing and adhere to capacity requirements, guests will continue to make a reservation for a time to enter the Zoo in advance of their visit at OmahaZoo.com/Hours-and-Admission. Reservations can be made up to two days in advance of the visit. Timeslots are available every half hour between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.
Please check the Zoo’s website at OmahaZoo.com and social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest details and the most current schedule as the Zoo opens additional exhibits and attractions.
The Zoo is committed to the safety and well-being of our guests, animals, and employees, and will make changes as needed based on actual operating conditions and guidance from public health experts and elected officials.
When the Zoo gates closed due to the Coronavirus crisis on March 16, 2020, dedicated staff continued to care for over 30,000 animals every day. Because of the closure, there is a significant revenue shortfall expected. In response, the Omaha Zoo Foundation has launched an Emergency Fund campaign to support ongoing Zoo operations. Members of the community who would like to contribute can visit the Zoo’s website, OmahaZoo.com.
Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium Renovation
Guests will be welcomed back inside the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium with a redesigned façade. Brushed stainless steel waves sit atop the building and cut metal panels replicate coral along the rooftop. Lighting and sound make the area come alive with realistic ocean effects for evening rentals. The entrances to the Aquarium and the Aquarium Conference Center both are better defined and include 4-foot by 12-foot videoboards.
Sea Turtle Café has digital menu boards, upgraded equipment and an additional concession window. The plaza area is updated with tile and the underside of the canopy is blue stainless steel that is dimpled to look like the surface of water. Exhibit enhancements, filter upgrades, new carpeting throughout and renovated restrooms are also a part of this restricted funds project.
The Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium was built in 1995 and includes animals such as penguins, tropical fish, coral, sea turtles, jelly fish sharks and a 70-foot tunnel which allows for underwater viewing. The Scott Aquarium is the largest aquarium inside a Zoo.