As soon as guests walk through the new entrance gates, they will be greeted by animals and beautiful plant life. This is an area where peaceful views are combined with playful encounters. The plaza will also act as a central hub, allowing easy access to giraffes, tigers, spider monkeys and the original Zoo.
“We wanted to create an experience that felt intimate and peaceful but also had many touch points and interactive areas,” President & CEO John Chapo said. As soon as guests pass through the gates there will be small areas within the paths where they will find animals as well as flowers, plants and trees.
A feature we are excited about in the plaza is the Splash Stream. The Splash Stream provides the perfect combination of fun with learning and discovery. Parents and children can kick off their shoes to wade and play in the stream while exploring the heritage and history native to Nebraska and the Platte River like the Ogallala aquifer, leaf fossils, ancient footprints and more. In fact, the Splash Stream is our own rendition of the Platte River - right here at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
The Splash Stream will be a cuple of inches deep and have openings where children can play and create. “Children love interactive water areas and the stream provides a natural setting to explore and learn,” Chapo said.
At the end point of the stream will be a beautiful sandhill cranes art piece created by Lincoln’s own Cliff Hollestelle. The sculpture features the iconic sandhill cranes flying through Nebraska prairie grass and surrounded by vegetation and water. “We are very proud to have such an amazing piece of local artwork located centrally in the Zoo,” Chapo said.
The plaza includes an information area where animal show times and other happenings at the Zoo will be displayed. It also includes a map and provide a central location where guests can easily travel to any part of the Zoo.