Henry Doorly Zoo/Omaha Vacation Winner Announced!

Written by Kelly Maeser



Congratulations to the winner (announced below).  Right now there is another chance to win from HVFH.  Check out our latest pumpkin patch giveaway.

Also, we will announce a new prize package on Monday.  This one is for Husker fans!

And if you’d like your company/business to be included in our giveaways, please e-mail [email protected]

Now, for the winner!

Cindy Hayes Matson
October 09, 2012

Cindy wrote: “My favorite animal has to be the monkeys. They are so fun to watch. And I liked the post too!! You ladies are the best. Love your stories and your hearts!”

Thank you so much, Cindy!  You make our hearts happy!

Cindy, please e-mail [email protected] to find out how to claim your prize!




Written By:  Kelly Maeser @ Pieces of Me

**Editor’s note:  This is a BIG giveaway post.  We give a HUGE thanks to Kelly for putting this prize package together for you guys!  Scroll to the bottom for details! 

Shortly after I moved to Omaha I started working in the education department at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. I was often asked by people I knew who lived outside of Omaha, “What will you do in the winter? Is the zoo even open?” To which I would reply yes it is; the zoo doesn’t slow down just because summer is over. In fact they have events all year long.

Granted there are a few changes made. Some of the animals are moved to indoor exhibits. The tram, trains, and Skyfari don’t have as many running times or close completely. But the changes are small and most of the attractions are open all year round.

I personally love going to the zoo in the off season. The temperatures are cooler and it isn’t as busy. The zoo looks beautiful in the fall with all the trees changing colors and in the winter covered in snow. When the weather turns cold many of the attractions (for example, The Jungle, The Aquarium, Kingdoms of the Night, The Desert Dome, Gorilla Valley) are all close enough that you can go from one to another quickly making your outdoor time minimal. With our Nebraska winters you may even catch a seasonable warm winter day to spend outside at the zoo.

Throughout the year the zoo’s education department offers classes for ages 3 and up. If you have a future zoo keeper or animal lover in your household be sure to check out the classes. Registration is required and many are on Saturdays if you live out of town. You can find more information here.

The classes are a lot of fun. My son has attended some in the past and loves them!

They also have events all year round. The two events I like the most and the ones we try to make it to every year are Spooktacular and Holiday Happenings.

Spooktacular is on October 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28 from 6-9pm. They have vendor trick or treat stations as well as activities for kids. During this event (as they do most special events) they will have animal ambassadors out for you and your family to get up close and personal to some of the zoo’s residents. Another fun thing about this event is you can check out Kingdoms of the Night during its day cycle. So if you or your kids find this attraction a little spooky it’s a great opportunity to see what it looks like with the lights on. This event does cost extra ($7 for members-$8 for non-members per person).

The other event we try to get to is Holiday Happenings. It is on December 1, 8, and 15. During this event you get to watch Santa swim with the sharks and other sea creatures in the Aquarium’s tunnel. It is a really fun event to watch. I love the kid’s reactions to Santa swimming around with the sting rays and sharks. This event is free to members and with zoo admission.

There many other Fall/Winter events that can be found here.  For the events that require registration, many fill up very quickly so if you’re interested call as soon registration is open to reserve your spot!

Now that you know about all the fun the Henry Doorly Zoo offers year round, you can win a chance to get a family four pack to the zoo, a one night’s stay at the Holiday Inn Downtown Omaha in a king executive room, a $50 gift card to either Blue or Roja and a sweet stuffed animal from the zoo, too!

The Holiday Inn Downtown is walking distance to the Century Link Center and minutes away from shops and restaurants. Both kids and adults are sure to enjoy the hotel’s indoor water park, Holiday Bay. Complete with an activity pool, whirlpool, play structure, and 3-story body slide! Click here for more details!

Blue Sushi Sake Grill and Roja Mexican Grill+Margarita Bar are two fabulous restaurants locally owned by Flagship Restaurant Group. Blue gives traditional sushi an American attitude. Whether you have never tried sushi or it’s one of your favorite foods, Blue Sushi is the restaurant for you. There are three locations in Omaha and one is downtown in the Old Market if you want to stay close to the hotel!

Click here to learn more about Blue Sushi!

Sushi really not your thing? No problem, the gift card is also good at Roja Mexican Grill+Margarita Bar. They serve up a wide selection of Tex-Mex style food. We eat here often and my kids love it. I highly recommend the chimichangas. I have never ordered something I didn’t like from Roja. There are two locations in Omaha. One is also in the Old Market. 

Click here to learn more about Roja!

 I have eaten at both places and the food is so good! I would highly recommend either one!    

Here’s how you can win this fantastic prize package!  If you do all three, we’ll get your name entered 3 times!

1.  Tell us about your favorite zoo animal!  Just leave a comment on this post.

2.  Hit the “like” button on this post

3.  Hit the tweet button on this post

P.S.  Be sure to tell us if you “liked or tweeted” in your comment so we can get your name in for the giveaway 3 times!

One winner will be chosen at random.  Deadline to enter is Friday, October 12th at 4:30 p.m.  We will announce the winner on Friday, October 12th – in the evening.  Good Luck!!!

P.S.  This little guy is just waiting for you to take him home!  Pick me, Pick me!!

About the author

Kelly Maeser

Kelly is a Nebraska girl who is still trying to figure out what she is going to be when she grows up as she makes up stories and writes poetry.
In addition to writing for Her View From Home. She had a poem published in Migraine Expressions: A Creative Journey through Life with Migraines, and is currently working on a collection of poetry and a YA novel.
Kelly is taking a break from blogging, but you can follow her and her creative musing on Instagram (kellymaeserwriter), Twitter (@KellyMaeser) and Facebook (Kelly Maeser- Writer).

  • Megan Albrecht

    My favorite zoo animals are the polar bears!!! I could watch them swim and play for hours!! I liked this post too!!

  • Ashley F

    I LOVE the monkeys! Who doesn’t?!

    I also “liked” this post!

  • Kylie Bernt

    Hey ladies, my family and I would love to win this trip! My kids have 2 favorite animals~ my daughter loves giraffes and my son likes elephants. I myself enjoy the tigers and the monkeys.
    P.S.~ Thanks for all of your awesome giveaways!

  • Kylie Bernt

    I also liked on Facebook!

  • Alissa

    There’s so many great animals at the zoo… it’s hard to choose just one favorite! I like the monkeys. And the tigers. Can’t forget the polar bears! I also “liked” on fb… 🙂

  • Cheri

    I like seeing the penguins at the zoo. I “liked” and “tweeted” this page. THanks and I hope you draw my name I would love to take my children to the zoo yet this year.

  • Jodi

    I LOVE the penguins! I could watch them all day! I also “Liked” this on fb.

  • Nancy

    I have a few favorite things at the Henry Doorley Zoo. One of them being the Budgie cage with all the very pretty little birds that we can feed. We have an amazing time with our grandchildren there getting the birds to sit on the sticks and eat off of them. We have some special pics and memories spent with the grandchildren there and it is hard to get the kids to leave the cage. We also love the monkeys and gorillas. They do some fun things and the kids just love watching them. We also have discovered the bats in the jungle that are allowed to fly around and had an amazing time watching them and filming what they do.

    • Kelly Maeser

      The bats in the jungle are pretty amazing. If you go in around closing time they’re more active.

  • Jenna

    Love the Penquins and watching the butterflies. Would tweet but do t have a twitter account. Did like this though! We live going to the zoo to see the fish too

  • Meghann

    Penguins for sure. We love to see it snow in the penguin exhibit. I also “liked” on fb. Amazing giveaways, thanks ladies!

  • Diane

    The zoo is fantastic! I like the gorilla’s and polar bears! I “liked” this page!! Thanks!!

  • Amanda S

    We love the monkeys –so freaking adorable!! Could sit and watch them interact all day. You gals have such awesome giveaways. *crossing our fingers* Here’s to hoping we win! LIKED and TWEETED!!!

  • Erin Brinegar

    I love the gorillas! I liked and tweeting this page!

  • Rani

    I love the elephants and penguins!

  • Rani

    I also “liked” and tweeted this! thanks

  • Melody

    Favorite animals are a toss up . . . I think I change my mind at each stop at the zoo 🙂 If I had to pick, I would probably say the gorillas, I love the way the interact with you, they are fun! Haven’t been to the zoo in awhile, would love to see all of the updates!

  • Melody

    Liked on facebook also 🙂

  • Shaina

    I love the Monkeys! They are so fun to watch. 🙂 Also liked on FB too!

  • Tricia

    Our families favorite animals at the zoo are the penguins and the polar bears! They are so fun to watch! The penguins have such attitudes and are entertaing. While the polar bears are enjoyabe, especially, if you get to see them swim.

  • Tricia

    liked also!

  • Catrina Gray

    I like the Aquarium’s tunnel and my daughter likes the snakes and spiders. I “liked” and “tweeted” this page

  • Katie

    We like the elephants, giraffes, tigers & monkeys! Also like visiting the nursery when they have babies there! I liked the FB post! 🙂

  • Brandi

    I like the tigers.
    I also liked

  • Alexa M.

    My favorite animal would have to be the gorillas! We have been wanting to take our daughter. Tweeted & liked! Plus Blue is my new favorite place! Would love to win!

  • Kristi

    Wow there are so many great animals at the zoo! One of our families favorite is the penguins my family can spend forever in that area! I also “liked” this on FB

  • Sara

    my girls and I love to watch them feed the Penguins! We’d love to go this fall!

  • Sara

    I also “liked” this post 🙂

  • Brian

    Love the tigers!

  • Sarah

    My favorite animals are the monkeys-soo cute! Oct. 12th is my bday so that would be a great bday present and our family could really use a getaway! Thanks for the chance to win !

  • Toni

    We love the penguins! I also “liked” this post.

  • Amber R

    I like the fish at the aquarium! Awesome to see them all around you. I liked this!

  • Chrissa

    My girls and I are huge fans of the penguins.

  • Cheryl

    My favorite animals to visit at the zoo are the penguins. I love how effortlessly they swim through the water and then to seem to be so clumsy on land. It reminds me of myself. In some areas of my life I trust God and things seem to effortless and then other areas I forget to let God be in control and everything is in total chaos. I liked this page!!

  • Robin

    I’m always blown away seeing the penguins as they always amze me and bring laughter while watching them playing with each other. The penguins are one of the exibits I, like many people, want to see again and again!

    I also liked this post and tweeted.

  • Tiffany

    Liked the post and…
    Our favorite animals at the zoo are the monkeys. We love to watch them chase and play just like the kids at home!

  • Kristy Landin

    There are just too many to name… We like the monkeys of course, polar bears swimming is fun, penguins, kids like feeding the fish off the bridge….it’s just a great zoo and would love to go back again! I liked this page on Facebook:)

  • Dana P

    I love the manta rays. They are so beautiful to watch swimming. It looks like they are floating. I have had the opportunity to “pet” them. They fell like velvet. I also tweeted this.

  • Rachaelp

    We love the Omaha zoo! Picking a favorite anim is tough. I struggle between the big cats and the penguins. On the flip of a coin it is the penquins

  • Cindy

    Liked this post.

  • Genevieve Stoner

    We love the penguins and tigers! Can you please tell us what kind of OWL you have pictured here, she is beautiful! Thanks!

    • Kelly Maeser

      It actually isn’t an owl, but a Tawny Frogmouth. They can be found in the Desert Dome and are full of personality. 😉
      Here’s a link in case you’re curious about them, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawny_Frogmouth

  • Karen Herdklotz

    I love the OWL!!!

  • Amanda K

    We love to watch the penquins…the last time we were there our oldest just giggled the whole time we looking at them. Also liked on Facebook!!

  • Rhonda Kathol

    I love the birds…especially the Kookabura birds! Makes me smile to hear them!

  • Rhonda Kathol

    I liked this post!

  • I love the monkeys and the bears and the cats, ohhhh sooo many animals, I love them all! And I liked this and love the sight.

  • Carrie

    The penquins! By far the best stop at the zoo.

  • Mary Peters

    I love the parrots in the jungle are so full of color! They are very beautiful birds!

  • Anne B

    The kids love the penguins, of course. At Doorly, I thought it was fascinating to see the beavers and nocturnal swamp animals.

  • Anne B

    Also liked this post on FB

  • Vanessa Berry

    My family loves going to see the giraffes! I also liked this post! 🙂

  • Bill Peters

    I like the owls.

  • Keri B.

    My favorite zoo animal is the Okapi.
    I also “liked” and tweeted.
    Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  • Shelby U

    hands down…PENGUINS are my fave!!!

    I also liked this:)

  • Kara M

    My favorite animals are the monkeys!

  • Mary Bunger

    I love the pequins. They are so playful

  • Mary Bunger

    Opps, misspelled peguins. Darn finger. I did like the post as well. I don’t do twitter

  • Liz Cooley

    My husband and I love to see the penquins as well as the butterfly exhibit. The penguins are so much fun to watch and it is amazing to watch the butterflies hatch from the cocoons. Also *Liked and *Tweeted!

  • Jennifer P.

    I love to watch the penguins and the gorillas. I also liked this post.

  • Steph Bonifas

    Love the PENGUINS…they are so fun and provide great entertainment!!! Would love a family getaway…I liked this post on FACEBOOK 🙂

  • Kerry S

    I love to watch the gorillas and the penguins!
    Also LIKED this post!

  • We love so many things about the zoo! the skyfari ride, the aquarium, the butterflies and the crazy monkeys to name just a few! what a great giveaway! (liked the post)

  • I love the aquarium and the monkeys! I also “liked” on fb!

  • I love going to the zoo to see the penguins!! I don’t know why but they fascinate me!! Especially when they feed them. I tweeted and like on FB!! 🙂


  • My favorite zoo animal is the penguin!! They are so neat to watch at the HDZ. I also liked this post.

  • Giraffes! (Liked on FB too)

  • I love the orangutan at the Omaha Zoo! Every time we’ve been there he’s sticking his hand out of his enclosure trying to get someone to give him a snack. So cute!

    I also liked this post!

  • My favorite zoo animal is the giraffe. They are so tall and graceful. I liked this post on fb.

  • The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo is my favorite place to visit!
    I really like the Elephants (and the Giraffes).
    ‘Liked’ (but I don’t have twitter).

  • My favorite zoo animals are the penguins and the fish at the aquarium!!

  • My favorite since i was a kid were always the bears but i come from nd and have never had the chance to take my daughter to a big zoo i would love the chance too! Shes most excited to see panda bears!!!

  • I love the penguins 🙂
    family74014 at gmail dot com

  • I liked this post on FB
    family74014 at gmail dot com

  • I love watching the Polar Bears when we are at the zoo! Of course, I can’t leave out the monkey’s and the penguins. I also “liked” this on facebook

  • The penguins are my fav! And i tweeted and liked the page!!

  • Polar Bears are my fav by far.

    Also liked and tweeted this post.

  • I love the polar bears and cat habitat! I Also liked this on Facebook. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Love the gorillas! I liked and tweeted!

  • We love watching the monkeys. They have such personalities!

  • liked on facebook

  • Love the zoo!

  • The zoo is fun but I think my favorite animal is the monkies!! My son loves the fish! We once went to an aquarium that was nothing compaired to the zoo! I’m so excited to get to take my son someday! (I also liked this post) thanks for everything you guys do!!!!

  • Loved the baby giraffe this summer!

  • Love the zoo monkeys and tigers

  • My favorite zoo animal is the Silver Back Gorillas. I love to watch them interact with each other and witht he people watching them.

    I liked this post on Facebook.

  • I also tweeted this.

  • I would love to take my 2 granddaughters to the zoo! We haven’t seen the aquarium yet. Our favorite animals to watch are the monkeys, the seals when u can get them to chatter is fun, and the polar bears!! I liked this on Facebook!!

  • The apes! I also liked the page!

  • We love the tigers the best! Also liked and tweeted

  • Do I have to pick just one animal? I’m really not sure that I could. : D But I guess if I have to, it would be the zebras. I just love horses of all kinds. I have always loved animals. My hubby says I really should have become a vet. I usually just laugh and say ” Then I would have never met you. And I wouldn’t have my three wonderful boys. ”

    P.S. I have liked and tweeted this post.

  • Love the monkeys!

  • My family would LOVE to win this!!! We have a few favorite animals its hard to choose just one. We love the penguins, the monkeys and everything in the aquarium tunnel 🙂 I also liked and tweeted about it.

  • liked it

  • tweeted it

  • My favorite zoo animal are the ones in the rain forest cause they are animals you don’t get to see very often

  • my favorite zoo animal are the monkeys. Especially when they have new babies with them. They are so neat to see how they act and move around! I liked and tweeted this!!!

  • We love all the animals, but we especially like the penguins! I liked and tweeted! THANKS!

  • KK

    Love the aquarium. +tweet.

  • I love koala bears- but at the Omaha Zoo- it would be the Gorillas- we spent the night with the Gorillas last year with cub scouts and we had so much fun. We love the Omaha Zoo!

  • Liked the story too. 🙂

  • Its hard to choose which animal is my favorite they are all interesting in their own ways. But if I have to choose I will go with the giraffe! Liked and will tweet!

  • There’s so many different animals they are all great. Its been years since I’ve been there and my daughter has never been there. I’d probably have to say Monkey’s 🙂

  • We love watching the monkeys “monkey” around! I liked this post too!

  • Joy

    We would love to go to the HDZ this fall. We usually go in October every year. However we went to San Deigo Zoo in August. I was so disappointed in the sharks. I LOVE HDZ’s Aquarium! We would go see the sharks first!!!!

  • Meg

    Seriously love going down in the bat cave area. Its the only time I feel like those little creatures and I can be near each other! But really the whole zoo is wonderful, its a great place no matter what the age. 🙂

  • I love all of the animals, but my favorite animals are the bears! I don’t know why, but I enjoy watching them! I like this post. Thanks for the entry!!


  • We love the zoo! Our favorite is the sharks in the aquarium. I also “liked” this page.

  • My favorite animal at the zoo is the gorilla! I have loved zoos since my first trip to the Detroit Zoo as a little girl. I have heard so many great things about the Henry Doorly and would love to get a chance to visit it with my family. :o)

  • I commented, liked and shared!

  • My favorite animal has to be the monkeys. They are so fun to watch. And I liked the post too!! You ladies are the best. Love your stories and your hearts!

  • Love watching the penguins, they are so entertaining.

  • We love all of the zoo, but if I had to pick I would say my favorite animals at the zoo are either the penguins because they are so entertaining to watch or the sharks, turtles, and fish in the aquarium. It’s so neat to be in the tunnel there and just have the fish swimming all around you.
    I did “like” on facebook also.

  • I love watching the penguins, I could watch them for hours. The aquarium is also awesome. Nebraska is just so fortunate to have such an amazing zoo. This would be such a fun win!!!!!

  • I liked this article

  • tweet!!!!!! 3 chances to win, WOO HOO!!!!!!

  • I love the giraffes the most…they are so beautiful and unique!

  • I “liked” this post. My favorite is the penguins, but the boys would probably say the sharks! If we’re lucky we make it there once a year when visiting family. I wish the zoos near is were as cool!

  • I love the penguins! So much fun! Would love to take my fiancé to the zoo as he just moved to Nebraska! 🙂

  • Forgot to mention that I liked this post 🙂

  • Love the stingrays!

  • I love all the animals at the zoo–but i favorite would be the bears..ALL of them

  • Oh how I love the zoo! I would to do one of their sleep outs in the summer!

  • i liked this post!

  • tweeting as we speak!

  • I liked this post and I LOVE to watch the penguins!

  • my family and I are huge cat lovers so when we go to the zoo we always visit the cat complex first. My daughter and I have been fortunate enough to do an over nighter in the aquarium for her girl scout troop.

  • We loved the gorillas, mainly because our grandkids enjoyed them so much. Would love to take our granddaughter, Taylee, again. I liked the page as well but don’t Tweet yet, lol.

  • we like the elephants. my newly adopted daughters would love to go to the omaha zoo, they have never been there. i liked the page, im not a tweeter

  • Kathleen Splitt

    When I was home-schooling my three sons we spent many hours learning at Henry Doorly! Great memories were made. Our favorites were the tigers and the polar bears. The guys just loved it when the animals would interact with us through the glass (I’ve not been to Henry Doorly for many years now as I moved away from Nebraska in 1994 . . . .so I don’t know if glass still separates the animals from the people, but it did then)

  • I forgot to mention in my first comment that I liked and tweeted this page! Henry Doorly is one of my favorite places in the world!