Friday, May 23, 2014

Zoo Spotlight: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

On a recent mini vacation my family and I took a weekend trip to Omaha, our main interest being to visit the zoo. I have heard from many friends that Omaha has the best zoo and aquarium and it really is! Trip Advisor ranked the Omaha Zoo the #1 zoo in the country. This zoo isn't huge but you will definitely get a days worth of fun! Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo offers numerous indoor and outdoor habitats. 

The first thing you will notice when arriving at the zoo is the huge Desert Dome. The Desert Dome is the world's largest indoor desert and is located under the world's largest glazed geodesic dome. 

The Desert Dome showcases plant and animal life from three deserts around the world: the Namib Desert of southern Africa, the Red Center of Australia and the Sonoran Desert of the southwest United States. Also, the Kingdoms of the Night is located beneath the desert and is the world's largest nocturnal exhibit.

Another great indoor exhibit is the Lied Jungle, which is America's largest indoor rainforest. Inside the exhibit you will feel as if you are in the rainforest, you will hear waterfalls crashing, see gibbons swinging from trees and even cross a rope bridge. The Lied Jungle was my favorite exhibit at the Omaha Zoo because you really feel transported to the jungle

The Berniece Grewcock Butterfly and Insect Pavilion is another fun indoor exhibit. Inside the butterfly house you can carefully walk among the beautiful free flying butterflies in a tropical environment. 

Another favorite of mine was the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium, where you can walk through a tunnel of water as sharks and sea turtle swim above. The aquarium is home to a variety of sea life, from Antarctic penguins to colorful warm water fish! If you are planning a trip to the Omaha Zoo make sure you get there when they open either 9 or 10 a.m. depending on the time of year. Also, I recommend going straight to the aquarium when you get there, after a few hours it will be packed!

Here are a few bonus photos from our trip!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Pup: Planning a Dog Birthday Party

I will admit that I treat my dog like my child, and I don't think I'm alone in that. My hound/lab mix Roxy will be turning 5 this week and I want to plan something to celebrate! The number of owners wanting to throw a birthday party for their four legged friends is growing every year! Here are a few tips and ideas to help you put together a great dog birthday party!

Invite some friends. You will probably want to invite dogs that have met before or that usually socialize well. Nothing will ruin a dog party quicker than a dog with an attitude problem, keep this in mind when inviting guests. 

Plan the menu. If it were up to Roxy she would just have a plate full of sausage or something, but to get an adorable birthday picture a pupcake might work better. There are a lot of dog bakeries popping up that make special pupcakes and other yummy pet friendly treats but if you don't have a dog bakery near you pupcakes are pretty easy to make. This site has a lot of good pupcake recipes your dog is sure to love!

Just have fun! Having extra party hats or other costumes available for all your dog guests will add to the fun! You could plan some dog games based on human games to get all of your guests involved. Some great dog/human games are:
Simon SaysEach dog pairs with their human and each team spreads out to have enough room to move around. You announce a command, which must be preceded by "Simon Says" Says. Each team must follow your instruction. Any team who does not perform the right command, does not perform at all or performs a command without the preceding "Simon Says" phrase is out. The team left standing is the winner. 

Toss Up - Each dog is paired with their human and stand facing each other. The dog humans toss treats one at a time to their dog, each treat their dog catches counts as a point. The dog who catches the most treats in a certain amount of time if the winner. 

Bobbing for Treats - Fill up a kiddie pool with water, then place your treat of choice into the pool. Some great treat ideas include: apples, carrots, kibble, cut up pieces of hot dog, popcorn or whatever your dog's favorite treat is. Dogs can take turns at the pool bobbing for the different treats.