Omaha Famous #28

Local music, food, and people, you should know


Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium – Because animals are cool (except for humans).

First of all, this zoo is awesome. I lived in San Diego for 5 years and went many times to the San Diego Zoo, which I think nationally gets more attention, but let me tell you, this may be the country’s best zoo and Omaha should be damn proud of it. Henry Doorly was the publisher of the Omaha World Herald for 58 years and became an influential figure in the city, so when he passed they named the zoo after him. And boy do they regret that because his name is kind of weird right? Doorly. It’s like if something is like a door, or perhaps has the properties of a “door” but isn’t quite a door it would be considered “doorly” or perhaps “doorish”. Just a weird name.

Anyway, he was probably a decent dude. What I love about this zoo are the lions, the hippos (which are rare to find in zoos), the elephants, and the giraffes. These animals in particular are the best part, along with the apes and monkey’s. I remember looking into the eyes of a gorilla, and the gorilla looks right back into mine, with a certain look of boredom and disdain. Sort of the same reaction you would expect to get from a human being. It gets me every time, just how close we are to these beautiful apes. Then you realize an ape would never put a monkey-themed leash onto their 3 year old to keep them from running away. Only we would do that…

I am conflicted about how I feel about zoos. On one hand, they cage helpless animals, sometimes in small, unnatural enclosures, for the enjoyment of paying customers. It’s very Circus-like, and cruel in that way. On the other hand, zoos perform valuable research and play a large part in the cultivation and conservation of endangered species. They also help grow the public awareness of these beautiful animals, and help people appreciate the importance of their conservation at an early age via this exposure.

But, if you have ever been to a BAD zoo, say one in a poor country, or just a smaller, less-funded zoo, then you know they get closer to being that depraved Barnum and Bailey type of atmosphere with a bunch of depressed tigers laying around. It’ sad.

So that all being said I am for responsible, well-funded, zoos that look out for their animals and try everything they can to conserve them, and educate us about them. And I think the Henry Doorly Zoo does all of that, so go here with your kids and leave the monkey-leashes at home.