Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska

Housed in a building just as beautiful as the art it contains, Joslyn Art Museum features a variety of art from medieval to modern.  The early twentieth-century Art Deco building, featuring a beautiful courtyard fountain, was Sarah Joslyn’s memorial to her late husband and a gift to the people of Omaha.  You can read more about the Joslyn family and the history of the museum here.

Both general admission and parking are free. The museum opens at 10 AM  Tuesday through Sunday and usually closes at 4 PM, though on Thursdays they remain open until 8 PM. They are closed on Mondays and major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. A cafe and a gift shop are available in the building.

 

 

Girl in front of glass sculpture
Chihuly glass at Joslyn

 

Exhibits include European art, Asian art, American art, Greek pottery, a sculpture garden and more. Artists represented include Edgar Degas, Camille Pisarro, Mary Cassatt, Albert Bierstadt, Jackson Pollack,  Claude Monet, Dale Chihuly, Auguste Renoir, El Greco, and John Singer Sargent.  

While the older Tumbleweeds were enjoying all those works, the younger ones particularly enjoyed the hands-on activities in the children’s ArtLab on the lower floor.  Children of all ages can use a brush on a screen to create digital art or use dry erase markers to decorate a Greek-style amphora.  There were also books and cozy reading nooks along one wall.

We also enjoyed an exhibition of quilts from Vermont’s Shelbourne Museum. This special exhibition was not included in general admission, but the $10 adult ticket was very reasonable, especially since the children’s admission was free of charge. This exhibit included a variety of both antique and contemporary quilts some purely decorative, others created for everyday use. 

 

Dandelion embroidered on white quilt
One quilt on exhibit featured embroidered birds, butterflies, and flowers

Another temporary exhibit we enjoyed, which was included with general admission, was stereographs and photographs from the American west during the construction of the transcontinental railroad.  Both of these exhibits will be at the Joslyn through the end of 2018, so if you’d like to see them, go soon! We certainly hope to spend more time at the Joslyn on a future visit.

 

Friends had recommended the Henry Doorly Zoo to us when they learned we were going to be stopping in Omaha, Nebraska. Even though the weather was cold, when we found out how many indoor exhibits this zoo features, we decided it was worth seeing.

The Henry Doorly Zoo has different admission rates depending on the time of year. There are three sets of rates, one for summer, a lower rate for fall and spring, and an even lower rate in winter.  The adult admission applies to everyone 12 and over, and children 2 and under are always free.  More information on admission is available here.In the summer, not only are admission rates higher, but according to many reviews of the zoo, it gets terribly crowded.  By visiting when we did, we not only paid a lower rate, we were better able to enjoy the exhibits. We do hope to visit again during warmer weather to enjoy the outdoor exhibits, but will avoid the summer crowds when we do.

The indoor exhibits we enjoyed included an indoor rainforest, a domed desert exhibit, an insect exhibit with butterfly room, a nocturnal animals exhibit, and an aquarium.

The rainforest exhibit could be enjoyed both from ground level, as in this photo, and from an elevated walkway around the upper level.

We probably could have spent all day in the rainforest exhibit alone.  We saw howler monkeys, a wide variety of birds, a pygmy hippo and her baby, tapirs, and lots of fruit bats. At the end of the day, the bats were more active, flying along the paths and through the tunnel, right over and around us.

A fruit bat “hanging out” in the rainforest exhibit

The desert dome featured plants and animals from an Australian desert, an African desert, and North America’s Sonoran Desert. We enjoyed seeing the plants and animals that have become familiar to us from our winters in Arizona. We also enjoyed seeing the similarities and some differences between desert-adapted flora and fauna around the world.

The aquarium featured penguins, jellyfish, and an amazing walk-though tunnel with small sharks and other sea creatures.  It didn’t photograph well for me, so you can check it out at the zoo if you visit, and I recommend you do!

Things to Know When You Visit Henry Doorly Zoo

The entire zoo campus is tobacco-free. 

You can purchase food and drinks at various locations around the zoo, or you can bring your own, provided you don’t bring in alcohol or any glass containers. 

Parking is free.

If you have a membership to an AZA member zoo that participates in the reciprocal admission program, your visit to Henry Doorly Zoo will be half-price. We have a member ship to the Western North Carolina Nature Center, which is a particularly good value, because in addition to the AZA Reciprocal program, they participate in the ASTC Travel Passport program, which offers free admission to science and technology centers. We have saved literally several hundred of dollars in admission to zoos and science centers across the country. If you would like to become a WNCNC member, you can do so online  here without travelling to North Carolina. 

Strollers, wagons, and motorized wheelchairs are available to rent at the zoo.

We hope you get a chance to visit the Henry Doorly Zoo and enjoy it as much as we did!