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Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium welcomes its one millionth visitor of the year Thursday

Posted at 7:06 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 20:06:54-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The high temperatures across Omaha may have slowed down some other activities in the area, but not at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. They welcomed their one millionth visitor of the year Thursday.

Greeted by cheering staff and reptiles, the one millionth visitor entered the zoo for a day of special treatment.

Jeanina Hunt of Papillion came to the zoo with her daughters Camila and Juliana to celebrate Juliana's fourth birthday, when it quickly turned into a much bigger celebration.

"I think we were all in shock, it's like, 'is this really happening?' like pinch me," Hunt said.

The zoo anticipated this milestone visitor would arrive around 10:15 a.m. The Hunt family arrived at 10:52 a.m.

"There was like two long lines and I was like there's a lady hiding right there, I am just going to go up there and then it was like ... okay," Hunt said.

Hunt said she knew the one millionth visitor event was happening today but she didn't expect to be the winner.

"We come here a lot because I homeschool both of them, and we just love coming here in the winter time especially because it's quiet and empty and we just come here all year round," Hunt said.

And to continue the birthday celebration, a day full of fun.

"She's going to see a little different side of the zoo," Dennis Pate, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium's CEO said. "She's going to meet a giraffe behind the scenes, she's going to feed a sea lion behind the scenes and get a free drive all the way through the zoo and then lunch and the gift shop stuff and all that."

Plus a free year of membership to the zoo.

"It's a blessing, with such a like inflation, the cost of inflation going up so much, we are being very picky about what kind of memberships we choose and so this is a really big blessing to our family," Hunt said.

And for the golden birthday girl, she's excited for a day of unlimited rides on the carousel and feeding some animals.

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