The 3 Best Aquariums in Nebraska

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has the most elaborate aquarium exhibits in Nebraska. Click here for more.
Written by Sophie Boka
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on Jun 06, 2022
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is in a class of its own. On the 160-acre property, thoughtful aquatic displays sprinkled amidst diverse zoo habitats bring the creatures of the world together right here in
If you’re itching to see some fish in Nebraska, and haven’t yet been to Doorly’s, your first stop has to be its Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium. But if you’re feeling something different, we’ve got a destination or two that will take your aquatic intrigue outside and make a sweet treat for the kiddos.
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#1: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Address: 3701 S 10th St, Omaha, NE 68107
Admission cost: Adults (12-64)—$29.95, Children (0-2)—FREE, Children (3-11)—$22.95, Seniors (65+)—$28.95, Military Adult (12+)—$28.95, Military Child (3-11)—($21.95)
What makes it special:
Going to
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
to see animals is like going to the Louvre to see art. There are so many exhibits, you can’t possibly do them all in one day. From the
to the
to the
to the oh my!, Doorly is a place you’ll want to go back to time and time again.
Its state-of-the-art
Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium
is one of the largest in-zoo aquariums in the world. Get up close and personal with sea turtles as you pass under a 70-foot-long overhead tank, teeming with sharks, then shiver with the polar bears in the
arctic region
. You’ll wish you’d thrown on shades when admiring their incandescently fluorescent tropical fish.
Step outside the Scott Aquarium for some demi-aquatic giggles at the
Owen Sea Lion Shores
, just a few paces away. When you enter, you’ll be transported into the sea lions’ wet, shadowy Pacific Northwest habitat. Plan your break accordingly: training demonstrations take place Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm
Pro Tip Doorly is a wildly popular attraction! Beat the line by
buying your tickets online

Conservation efforts at Doorly

Doorly is renowned as one of the field’s leaders in
. Its research interrogates a variety of subjects including molecular genetics, reproductive physiology, and plant micropropagation
Its state-of-the-art tanks and habitats are research-backed and intentionally designed to create authentic and sustainable environments for the wildlife. The zoo is consistently re-upping its sustainability goals, currently prioritizing initiatives for green buildings, energy and water conservation, and recycling and reuse of materials.

#2: Schramm Park State Recreation Area & Education Center

Address: 21502 NE-31, Gretna, NE 68028
Admission cost: Adults (13-60)—$10, Children (0-3)—FREE, Children (4-12)—$7, Seniors (60+)—$7
What makes it special:
Doorly brings the world’s wildlife to Nebraska, while
Schramm Education Center
brings its visitors to Nebraskan wildlife. Located in Schramm Park, this state-of-the-art educational center takes visitors through various Nebraskan aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Each exhibit encourages interactive, experiential learning to connect you with your wildlife neighbors.
In 2019, the Education Center was renovated and expanded to enrich visitors' aquatic experience. It now boasts cool water, stream, river, reservoir, and farm pond habitats. 6 small tanks allow visitors to connect with uncommon fish, while 17 larger tanks display indigenous reptiles and amphibians
is “time outdoors is time well spent. After visiting the Education Center, consider spending your day in the fresh air with a range of activities in the recreation area:
wildlife viewing
, and more. Don’t forget to check out their website for
fun events

Conservation efforts at Schramm

Schramm’s Education Center is founded on conservation: through
, Schramm encourages stewardship of the earth and its creatures. Here’s a sample of its conservation-focused programs:
  • Project Wild
    : Interdisciplinary and environmental education curriculum whose habitat-specific subjects encourage environmental responsibility.
  • Outdoor classrooms
    : Outdoor classrooms offer space for hands-on experiential learning that integrates environmental learning outcomes.
  • Trail Tails
    : Trail Tails is a Nebraska Gama & Parks magazine. The colorful publication is riddled with gorgeous pictures and interactive puzzles for children to enjoy.
  • Master Naturalist
    : The Master Naturalist program offers 60-hours of in-depth training on Nebraskan wildlife and ecosystems and related opportunities.
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#3: Lincoln Children’s Zoo

Address: 1222 S 27th St Lincoln, NE 68502
Admission cost:Adults (13-61)—$14.95, Children (0-1)—FREE, Children (2-12)—$12.95, Seniors (62+)—$12.95
What makes it special:
Schramm’s Education Center offers great kid-friendly programming, but the
Lincoln Children’s Zoo
takes it a step further with a design completely focused on the child’s experience
zoo was founded to connect families from all over with the natural world. Today, its goal is to “enrich lives through first-hand interaction with living things.”
The zoo houses over 400 animals from across the globe. Your kiddos will get a kick out of meeting the world's tiniest monkeys,
the pygmy marmosets
. Fans of Pixar’s new film Turning Red will be stoked to see a real-life
red panda
. And of course, a
and other friends from the Disney classic The Lion King are also represented here.
What about the underwater creatures, you ask? The Lincoln Children’s Zoo isn’t technically an aquarium, no. But it does showcase many water-friendly creatures such as the
Humboldt Penguin
North American River Otter
West African Dwarf Crocodile
, and the
Spiny Soft-shell Turtle
. It’s such a fantastic road trip for kiddos, we couldn’t leave it off the list.

Conservation efforts at Lincoln

Lincoln loves animals and gives special attention to those who are endangered. Partnering with the
Association of Zoos & Aquariums Special Survival Plan
, experts research and co-create plans to protect nearly 500 of the world's most vulnerable species from going extinct. 
The Zoo also collaborates with National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore's
Photo Ark
project, which documents endangered species in an attempt to get folks to care before they disappear. 

What is the best aquarium in Nebraska?

If you’re hoping to discover aquatic life in Nebraska, you’ve got some pretty great options.
TL;DR? Here’s our breakdown:
  • If you want an immersive aquatic and wildlife theme park experience… enter Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
  • If you want fresh air, outdoor activities, and knowledge… go to Schramm’s Education Center
  • If you want to take your little ones up close and personal with all kinds of wildlife… check out Lincoln Children’s Zoo

How to save money on car insurance in Nebraska

Sometimes the road can feel more like a zoo than any zoo we’ve ever been to. Make sure you and your loved ones are protected when the road gets wild by signing up for a solid
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