Zoo's massive crowd causes traffic delays

Posted at 6:18 PM, May 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-29 19:18:31-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – Families were stuck in a mass migration towards the Henry Doorly Zoo Sunday afternoon.


They were agitated and anxious.


Ken Hammond, an Omaha resident, was taking his family to see the new African Grasslands exhibit, which opened on Friday. The new exhibit features six elephants from Swaiziland.


That, coupled with Memorial Day weekend, led to traffic jams.


"If we would have known traffic was going to be this bad, we would have gotten an earlier start at it,” Hammond said.


Cars were jammed on 13th Street.


"It's pretty bad coming from both directions,” said Brandy Horsley, who came to the zoo from Ankeny, Iowa.


According to some reports-- the back-up on I-80 stretched to 42nd Street -- more than two miles away. 


Drivers say the last mile to the zoo was the slowest, and stuck in traffic on a hot day, some lost their cool.


"A guy with a trailer cut off a couple of smaller cars, and almost cleaned out the cars next to him,” said David Perez, who was attending the zoo with his family.


Congestion was so bad that Omaha police were called in to tame the herd of cars and trucks.


Reminiscent of the College World Series days at Rosenblatt --- drivers found parking in the South Omaha neighborhood around the zoo.


"Just down the street here, there's a few neighborhoods down here that you could go into,” said Kris Massey, a Bellevue resident who came to the zoo with his family.



Finally parked-- families started their trek toward the gates, from one jungle to the next.