Tonight I got a chance to attend the "Tails & Cocktails" event at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and see all of the finished renovations. I saw the aquarium a few weeks ago but at that time there were several displays that were not finished and I wasn't able to take very many photos, or share any of the ones I did take. Well the renovations are done and the aquarium looks fantastic!
One of the first things you see when you enter the aquarium is a new 40 foot racetrack tank housing some schooling fish (photo above). The tank has a center divider with the idea that the fish will disappear on one end and reappear on the other. From what I saw the fish weren't cooperating with that plan, but it didn't matter since it is such an impressive display. In the entrance you will also see a new 500 gallon touch tank:
The touch tank is a cold water tank housing some sea urchins, starfish, hermit crabs and some other animals. Beyond the entrance you will enter the new "Cold Pacific Waters" display area. In the cold pacific waters display you will see a new display featuring Japanese Giant Spider Crabs!
The spider crab display is very impressive to say the least! Moving past the Cold Pacific Waters display you will come up to the familiar beach display along with several staff pick tanks. The staff pick tanks are just that; the staff members can choose what they want to display. The slanted tank that use to be in this area is no longer on display. Here is a photo of a beautiful discus display tank:
Beyond the staff tanks you will see the familiar shark reef. Even though the shark reef has been on display for many years it is still and impressive sight!
After exiting the 70 foot long tunnel under the shark reef exhibit you will see an entirely new area called the “Ocean Drifters.” The Ocean drifters area has several different tanks featuring five species of jellyfish.
Just past the ocean drifters you will see a new high tech video display on the floor. The video display shows a reef pool, but when you walk over the pool the “water” ripples and the fish get scared and swim away. I can see this being very popular with the children.
Speaking of the children this brings us to the “Scuba Reef” area. The scuba reef area features a very impressive coral tank that highlights the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo’s conservation work. Next to the main tank there is also a new kid area.
The kid area looks like a coral reef with a small cave the kids can walk through as well as a viewing pane in to the reef tank. Beyond all of the new public displays there is also an entirely new conference area. At the entrance of the conference area there is a huge tank that divides the entrance from the main area.
In the main area there are several drop down display screens as well as a custom high light wall that can change colors
All in all I could have spent many hours walking through the new aquarium. Before I forget I thought I would add the total renovations cost $6.5 million. This includes all of the new displays as well as an all around facelift of the building. My camera photos of the displays do not do any justice to the displays. If you have some time check it out, its well worth the visit! Big thanks to Jim and Nebraska Aquatic Supply for allowing me to tag along!