Tag Archives: zoo

Venturing out of Siouxland, Lee Simmons Safari Park, Ashland, NE

13 May

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out of Siouxland in recent weeks has not been totally difficult as in many places around the country, but still done with a little trepidation and awareness. On a weekend, which I don’t know what possessed me as opposed doing this during the week, I took a drive out west past Omaha, NE to visit the Lee Simmons Safari Park in Ashland, an offshoot of the Henry Doorly Zoo. It was a nice weekend and many other folk had the same idea. Normally at this park folk can park and stay and watch the animals there, but because of the coronavirus the park is currently only allowing drive through visitation.

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors in vehicles snake their way past a herd of bison at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On my way out of the park I asked one of the attending park personnel how many people had visited and he responded he didn’t know the total, but roughly there were 400 vehicles every hour entering. I later told friends I had not seen this kind of bumper to bumper traffic since living in the Los Angeles area in the 1990’s. But still, people were patient and gracious, giving everyone a chance to stop and watch and photograph animals as we all snaked our way through the acreage.

Pelicans relax at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a variety of animals, although not as much as at the zoo proper. And on this particular day the animals seemed to cooperate and allow a look at a large number of people adjusting to a different way of spending leisure time.

Kids stick their head out of the top of a vehicle to better see animals at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Children poke their heads out of a sunroof and door window to better see the bison at a pond at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bald eagle in an aviary enclosure at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parts of Nebraska are beginning a soft reopening. Time will tell how that is going. Venturing out is desirable, but staying healthy has a stronger pull to walking about and into who knows what. Maybe some road trips onto the backroads of Iowa and Nebraska, just to take a look and see what one should visit again when the coast is clear.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A pelican “waves” at visitors driving through  the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Animals roam free at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a drive through at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Animals relax as people driver through the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Signage directs visitors to see the animals and find other places at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Zoo Time near Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

30 Jul

Visitors walk through the Desert Dome at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE has a number of different types of environments where various species are displayed, giving visitors a sense of the climate these animals inhabit as the zoo continues to build out these habitats.

A Cape Thick-Knee stands guard next to its chicks at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bird stays nestled in a bush in the Desert Dome at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But still it’s not the same as being in the original space from where the species, if not this particular animal, hails from. But with fascination visitors are drawn to see these magnificent creatures, great and small. I don’t find it morbid, but intriguing along with others who spend a day walking, watching and admiring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A gorilla looking for a little solitude as it eats an afternoon snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A baby gorilla gets a little TLC from zoo staff at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A seal cooling off on a humid day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Portrait of a parrot at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spending time at a Zoo near Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE

12 Jul

A giraffe eyes some eats at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tiger pacing along the fence line on a humid day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Zoos are fascinating places to visit for those of us who can’t travel to those far away exotic places where these various animals live. Although I know the importance of, and for the most part great care, that these animals receive, many born into captivity, it still breaks my heart to see them in their enclosures. And I wish funds could be established to enable people to visit these animals in their natural habitat as opposed to the various zoos.

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha is noted for its care and continuing expansion to give the animals a better habitat and visitors a better experience. And I admit it’s enjoyable to be so up close and “personal” with these animals as I venture south of Siouxland to visit.

Visitors watch a tiger pace in its enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A seal enjoying the shade at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The animals have their own personalities which I am sure zoo handlers will attest to as probably patrons who frequent their favorite spots more often than I can. And we see them through out humanistic eyes and our relationships we have to our own pets, who definitely have their own personalities, and aren’t afraid to exhibit them when it suits the situation. “Not now, no petting, I’m busy napping!”

A monkey on display at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

One of the many parrots on display at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As a photographer I am intrigued in trying to photograph them. Some of the big cats don’t make it easy, especially on a hot and humid day. They want to stay out of the midday sun and do a spectacular job of it.

A leopard peers through tall grass at visitors at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A big cat burrows into the shade of its enclosure barely seen by visitors at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

But we come and stand and watch and stare and enjoy the time and hopefully learn. To be better shepherds, keepers and ultimately humans who actually care and not just through lip service.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A young child watches a giraffe eat foliage at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An outing of out Siouxland, Henry Doorley Zoo Omaha, NE

11 Jul

A recent outing for a Summer Photo Safari class I teach through Western Iowa Tech’s Lifelong Learning program took us to the Henry Doorley Zoo in Omaha, NE. It also happened to be the opening day for the NCAA College World Series held in Omaha and one of the hotter days at that point in summer that it was an interesting day of shooting.

People enjoy zoos. As hard as it is sometimes to see the animals caged and pacing or simply ignoring the humans staring at them, people are still drawn to go and see the animals that only see in pictures in a book or magazine.

A young girl poses for a picture inside a viewing area as a Lowland Gorilla sits outside in the shade during a hot day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes people receive lasting impressions as they are able to interact with some of the animals and it makes an impact.

A visitor gets a personal experience as she feeds a giraffe at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Children the antics of one of the Lowland gorillas at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the heat that day definitely made an impression and people took advantage of mist stations along the way to stay cool and have some fun at the same time.

A family cools off under a misting station on a hot and humid day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

By and far though I found the best way of staying cool was to visit the indoor exhibits which were as fascinating as the outdoor ones.

A visitor takes photos of fish swimming overhead in the Aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I think it’s not only the guests visiting the zoo that enjoy it as do the individuals who work with the animals and care for them and bond with them on a daily basis much like many of us do with our own pets. Sometimes visiting and seeing something exotic doesn’t necessarily have to take one to the other side of the world, but it is a nice first step in that direction.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A parrot gets cozy with its trainer at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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