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How To Survive A Zoo Trip With Littles: Our Trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo

Back at the end of May 2015, we thought it would be a fun idea to take a road trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. Since baby girl was still a “foster placement” at the time, we needed to make it a day trip: that meant we also needed to be super efficient with our time! We made sure to be there before the doors opened so we’d have the entire day. There were also a few things we did that helped our trip go smoothly… They may all be pretty much common sense, but hey why not share ?



  • BRING FOOD: If you’ve read our How To Survive: The Wisconsin Dells post, you know I’m a big advocate for keeping lots of extra food and beverages on hand for trips. I read an article not too long ago that said this concept supports the “instant gratification” culture and will basically ruin our children. Yeah. I say it supports happy kids and a happy bank account ? It also actually ended up being a huge time saver as well! Since we had all our sandwiches made and bagged ahead of time, we didn’t have to stand in the lonnnnggg lines for food with hungry, grumpy kiddos. We just sat down with our big group and enjoyed!


  • BRING A STROLLER… OR TWO: We currently own a double stroller, so initially I thought I’d just bring that for the babies and have the big girls walk. Let’s just say I’m glad my sister borrowed an extra double stroller from the family she nanny’s for, because it was super helpful! When the big girls were game for walking, it still held our groups’ extra “stuff” below, but when they got tired it was great to not have to carry them. If possible, err on the side of having one just in case.


  • DRESS COMFORTABLY: This really doesn’t need much explanation… and it goes for the whole family! I knew there would be lots of walking and lots of wrangling kids… so I didn’t want to add wrangling my clothes all day to that list. Most important: comfortable SHOES!


  • BREAK UP ACTIVITIES: This might depend on the zoo you’re visiting, but especially if it’s a larger zoo it’s nice to space out some “restful” options. For us this involved lunch, and later a train ride. Other zoos we’ve been to even had little “theaters” where you could sit and learn via the big screen. My family was great about going at a pretty relaxed pace, which I think allowed us to see more in the long run.


  • VISIT “FAVORITES” FIRST/EARLY: If there’s anything your little one is dying to see, do it early on! That way if everyone runs out of steam sooner than expected, there will be a lot less disappointment in needing to leave. We did the Desert Dome first since it was the first thing we saw when we walked in… then we took a better look at the map to make sure we hit the things we wanted! We got to see the majority of the exhibits within that day, but they were in the process adding a lot more {coming this fall!} When we go back, we’ll either have be selective or turn it into a two day trip.


There were wayyyy too many pictures to narrow down for one post, so I decided to just share our family candids throughout the day. {Because a post about a zoo with no animal pictures makes total sense!} These photos were taken by several of us: myself, my sister Lex and her husband James, and our grandmother. Click the links below to tour the awesome animals and exhibits we got to see!



Explore the Zoo With Us…

The Desert Dome & Kingdom of The Night

Aquarium & Aviary

The Railroad

Animal Exhibits



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