Omaha’s Zoo and Aquarium is excited to announce that the Elephant Family Quarters will open each day between 10:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. beginning on Monday, February 14. Reservations can be made online for Monday starting Sunday. This will allow visitors to see Eugenia and Sonny, the first two African Elephant calves born at the Zoo.
Visitors can reserve a timed ticket to see both Elephant calves with the herd in the Elephant Family Quarters by visiting OmahaZoo.com/Hours-and-Admission. Forty tickets will be available in 15-minute increments (10:15, 10:30, 10:45 a.m., etc.) and the maximum reservations per individual is six tickets. Tickets for the timed reservations will become available online at 12 p.m. the day before and there is no charge for these tickets. Guests will be asked to stay no longer than their 15-minute reservation and exit the Elephant Family Quarters before the next reservation time.
“I am so excited to announce the reopening of the Elephant Family Quarters and officially invite guests to meet Eugenia and Sonny,” said Dennis Pate, president and CEO of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. “Timed ticketing will allow visitors a chance to see the calves, while also allowing the Elephant crew time to work with the herd regarding their routine and social dynamics.” Pate continued, “We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we put the care of our animals first. And as a reminder, all of our animals roam their habitats freely so you may or may not see a specific animal on a visit to the Zoo.”
Sarah Armstrong, Elephant manager, and Becca Wyatt, lead Elephant keeper, shared some details about the calves. “Eugenia has found her spunk and loves leading the bigger girls for our daily shifting instead of just staying under Mom. She also had her first adventure to the outdoors in an off-exhibit area, which has been properly calf proofed,” said Wyatt.
“Sonny has done an excellent job nursing. He too is just now finding his footing and learning how to move about with Mom,” said Wyatt. “Yesterday was a beautiful day so we opted to get Claire and Sonny outside to an off-exhibit area also. Sonny found he quite enjoyed smashing his face into the fresh sand pile in the warmth of the sun.”
Armstrong added, “From time to time, guests may see the calves in the exhibit area closest to the Elephant Family Quarters building. This is very weather dependent and would most likely occur in the afternoon.”
Sonny is the second African elephant born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on January 30. He was born to mother Claire, 13 years old, and father Callee, 21 years old. Sonny’s first weight on February 4 was 202 pounds and his second weight yesterday, February 9, was 210 pounds.
Eugenia was the first elephant born in the Zoo’s 127-year history and was born on January 7. Kiki, 18, is her mother and Callee, 21, is her father. She weighed 200 pounds as of yesterday, February 9. There are a total of eight elephants in the herd, including Eugenia and Sonny.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is committed to taking the necessary precautions to protect the health and wellness of all staff, guests and animals. The Zoo has adopted the principals of a “Healthy You, Healthy Zoo.” Face masks are required indoors in all Zoo buildings, including the Elephant Family Quarters, per the current Douglas County Health Department mandate.