It ended up being a good thing our first real stop was Omaha, since we got out of Iowa City quite a bit later than was ideal. Had we gone on to South Dakota as we initially planned, we wouldn't have made it there until much past dark. However, we made it to Omaha at a very reasonable time, had a lovely dinner, and got to bed at a time that none of us were tired the next day.
While I'm sure that Omaha has tons to offer, we were there for only one main purpose: the Henry Doorly Zoo. We had been several years earlier, pre-Duck addition to the family. The older boys only vaguely remembered it. Hubster and I remembered it as one of the best zoos we had been too.
Our memories served us well, because the zoo was phenomenal.
We strolled through jungle scapes, walking over rope bridges and behind waterfalls with free flying bats and birds around us (and only losing Duck once.)
We wandered through the ever impressive Desert Dome.
We watched penguins for the longest time.
We had lunch outside while we listened to howler monkeys.
We saw newly born baby sea lions and orangutans that were so darling the boys had to drag me away. Hubster does not share my enthusiasm for adopting all baby animals.
We stood quietly, impressed by gorillas and tigers and rhinos. We saw aardvarks and echidnas and sloths and armadillos.
We have been to many zoos, and seen the same type of animals countless times and every time, my children are enthusiastic, interested, and awed. It's a wonderful reminder to not became jaded, because the world and all the living things in it are amazing.
This stop may have added extra time to our road trip, but it was well worth it.