Nebraska at 150: Lincoln Children’s Zoo

Editor’s Note: Nebraska is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2017. As the state observes its sesquicentennial, we are revisiting some of the state’s attractions. Today, we take a look at the Children’s Zoo in Lincoln…

Eagles at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Lincoln’s Children’s Zoo has a nice selection of small animals, but the zoo is definitely designed for families with young children.

Play areas dot the zoo’s landscape for play breaks between views of animals, such as lemurs, monkeys, birds, penguins and tortoises.

The zoo is located in Antelope Park. The park itself contains more attractions, including a rose garden and botanical area.  The city parks department was working on planting this year’s crop of flowers and plants for viewing later this summer. Sunken Gardens botanical garden is across the street from the zoo area.

Antelope Park

A train route runs around the outside of the zoo. If you plan to ride the train, please understand that it doesn’t run through the zoo, so no animal viewing is available.

Outside the zoo, fire department and power district personnel presented safety demonstrations. The power guys showed what can happen when a human touches a hot wire. Not good.

Electric company demonstration

The zoo itself is small. It took us about 90 minutes to go through the whole place. I’m sure people with young children could spend another 1-2 hours there for play time.

Lincoln Children's Zoo

We really enjoyed the lemur exhibit. Who can’t like these furry little creatures from Madagascar?

Lemurs at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Spring has been good to the community. There were a few babies among the adults.

We watched one baby play and climb all over his mum. It was funny. At one point, she put a hand on his head to stop him moving around, just like a human parent may do.

Lemur Family at Lincoln Children's Zoo

One scene had two moms appearing to be visiting, while their children played around them. One mom had two babies.

A male (we assumed the dad of the babies) was sitting on a log enjoying an early lunch of lettuce. He was chowing down pretty good.

Lemur eating at Lincoln Children's Zoo

He did seem to pause from eating to stare at us. I love it when animals appear to be watching us back.

Lemur at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Moving on from the lemurs, we checked out two cats.

The first was an Amur leopard. They appear to be found in southeast Russia and northeast China.

Leopard at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Our leopard was pacing back and forth. As with other zoos, I’d like to see the big cats have more room to roam. The small enclosures look like they would not be comfortable at all.

The second “cat” we saw was “Leo the Paper eating Lion.” Leo is actually a paper recycling depository. Put a piece of paper near his mouth and Leo sucks it in.

Paper Eating Lion

The middle of the zoo is home to a few stops.

The concession stand is located here. People can enjoy a break from their stroll or kids playing with a drink or quick meal. There are plenty of umbrella-covered tables.

The area is home to the crooked house party room. It’s available for birthday parties, etc.

Birthday house at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Nearby is a fossil dig zone. A dinosaur’s bones stand above a sand box full of hidden bones for the finding.

A few steps away is the Hive – home to reptiles and smaller animals and insects.

When we first walked in, a zoo keeper had a lizard on her forearm.


But, as soon as we turned around, another keeper had a boa wrapped around her. I was outta there in a second! I hate snakes. I hate snakes. I hate snakes.

While Lisa looked at it and other reptiles and small animals, I spied a peacock hanging out on the railing outside the Hive. I was more comfortable there.


Another item we liked was the camel exhibit. There are two camels at the zoo. They are the largest animal on view.

The camels were enjoying lunch during our visit.

camel at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Visitors can feed camels. It costs $1. I was really surprised by the low cost. That’s a nice thing about a smaller zoo; some of the costs are lower.

We checked out a cute spider monkey. He definitely enjoyed his sweet potato treat.

monkey at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Next up were a couple of the birds. There is a small aviary with about a dozen birds. That was fine, as we got a little more up-close visit with them.

aviary at Lincoln Children's Zoo

A Macaw in another enclosure hung by its beak, while another scratched an itch. They were fun to watch.

Macaw at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Giant tortoises enjoyed some sun and grass feeding time during our visit.

tortoise at Lincoln Children's Zoo

A peacock made its way around the zoo, including a visit with the tortoises.

Peacock at Lincoln Children's Zoo

A couple Wallaby families gave visitors some enjoyment. We watched them hop around and eat a few munchies.

Wallaby at Lincoln Children's Zoo

Our last stop was the penguin pool.

Penguins are always fun to watch, regardless of where you’re at.

Penguin at Lincoln Children's Zoo

The Lincoln Children’s Zoo was a nice stop during our day trip to Nebraska’s capital city. Its admission is reasonable, about $9 per adult (13 to 61). Our Omaha zoo membership gave us 50 percent off admission, so we basically paid for one person. Children (2-12) are $7.95 per person for admission.

For more information on the zoo, please visit its website at