Old Friends and Turtle Piggyback Rides

FUN FACT: Butterflies don’t poop! They only live for 1-4 weeks and many butterflies taste with their feet. The top speed of a butterfly is 12 mph! (Facts Courtesy of the Henry Doorly Zoo Butterfly Garden)

After spending a couple of weeks back in Colorado, we headed out on another road trip. This trips main purpose was to see my best friend as well as my family but we had also planned on doing some adventuring and exploring along the way. Our first stop was Omaha, NE. I lived in Omaha for a pretty big portion of my life but I hadn’t been back in 7 years and Ronen had never been there, plus, my bestie Sara lives there. Ronen also got to meet a long time family friend of my family, Fr. Ralph O’Donnell, for the first time. It was amazing to see my husband meet someone I had known for 16 years and see how great they got along. They were cracking jokes and quoting “Blazing Saddles” (1974).

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One of the highlights in Omaha is the Henry Doorly Zoo. I am usually not a fan of zoos because I really dislike seeing the animals in captivity but the Henry Doorly is a great zoo! The aquarium is much better than the Monterrey Bay Aquarium in my opinion.  The penguin exhibit at Henry Doorly is awesome, they even produce snow for the little guys! If you look at the picture below, you can see the snow falling. My favorite part of the aquarium is when you walk through an underwater tunnel with sharks, rays, jacks, and a myriad of other fish cruising above and around you.

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The Jungle exhibit is a building that is open on the inside with birds and bats (don’t worry, just harmless fruit bats) flying around and massive trees for various species of monkeys to swing in. They have everything from sloths to hippos, tapir to crocodiles and frogs to porcupine.  I think a sign of a happy zoo animal is that they’re mating and producing young. It sure seemed like every jungle exhibit had a sign posted that said the resident animals had a baby recently or in several cases, we were lucky enough to see them mating right before our eyes. Sara, Ronen and I got to see turtles mating, or as the little boy said, “Hey Mom, one turtle is giving another turtle a piggyback ride!”

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One of my favorite parts was the butterfly garden. We were completely immersed in the conservatory surrounded by thousands of butterflies of all different species. It made you feel like you were a part of the exhibit, not just viewing it from afar. When you leave, you even have to check yourself in a series of mirrors to make sure you don’t have any hitchhiking butterflies.

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Some of the other zoo highlights are the Gorilla and Chimpanzee exhibit, a Madagascar exhibit with several species of lemurs, the bear exhibit, and a massive dome that has a desert environment and animals inside. Ronen related to the Gorillas, he realized that he likes to sleep in the same positions that they do.

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After the zoo, we went down to the Old Market. The Old Market is a historic area of Omaha with cobblestone streets and brick buildings. It has become a very relaxing and swanky part of Omaha with fabulous restaurants and bars, fun shops, and great boutiques.  We ate lunch and enjoyed some brews at the Upstream Brewing Company. They brew some great beers, I personally really enjoyed their Raspberry Lager. It wasn’t too sweet with just a little hint of raspberry.

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That evening we had a BBQ Nebraska style with some corn on the cob and beef kabobs and then we went to the Old Market again for dessert. We had to say goodbye to Sara in the morning and we headed out to Spicer, MN for some relaxing, tubing, and  waterskiing on Green Lake. Minnesota adventures will follow later this week!