Nebraska March 25, 2018
Most People Don’t Know This Nebraska Zoo And Adventure Park Even Exists
Everyone knows about the world-famous Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha and the fantastic Lincoln Children’s Zoo, but did you know that there’s another great zoo all the way on the other side of Nebraska? It’s true, and it deserves a special spot right at the top of your must-visit list.
Riverside Discovery Center is in Scottsbluff, just three miles from the Scotts Bluff National Monument. It's the only zoo in the western portion of Nebraska.
The attraction started out in the 1950s as Riverside Park and Zoo, but was later renamed to reflect its growing focus on conservation and education.
In the early days, only a few animals inhabited this complex near the North Platte River - mostly deer and waterfowl.
Today, more than 175 animals call Riverside Discovery Center home. They include common and exotic animals from North America and around the world.
You'll see some familiar North American faces here, including the box turtle, badger, and swift fox. You'll also get to know some animals from more far-off places, including a variety of primates, big cats, and even a two-toed sloth.
The newest additions to the family are two young grizzly bears who arrived in December 2017. Their mother was illegally killed in Wyoming in early 2017, and when it become apparent that the cubs wouldn't survive without her, they were captured and given a new home in Scottsbluff.
Riverside Discovery Center is open all year, and there's always something fun going on. The animals get to participate in holiday events as well as their very own birthday parties.
Kids can celebrate their own birthdays here, too. It's a pretty popular place for kids' parties. There is even a special party package that includes a visit from a zoo animal.
The petting zoo is always a favorite of young visitors. They can interact with a variety of tame, friendly animals. Please note that the petting zoo is closed over the winter but re-opens in the spring.
One of the RDC's missions is to encourage kids of all ages to build a connection with nature and the environment. To that end, interactive and immersive areas are peppered throughout the 25-acre park. The Dino Dig lets visitors excavate simulated fossils.
Classes, day camps, and special events are designed to bring visitors closer to nature and encourage a lifelong love of learning and ecology.
Of course, another of the RDC's main missions is fun. An afternoon here is always well spent, and you'll come away with a smile and some great memories. Don't forget to bring your swimsuit in the summer months so you can play on the awesome splash pad!
You’ll find Riverside Discovery Center at
1600 South Beltline Hwy West, Scottsbluff, NE. Winter hours (November through April) are 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Summer hours (May through October) are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission prices are very reasonable and range from $2.50 for ages 2-4 to $7.00 for ages 13-64.
While you’re in the area, don’t forget to stop by the jaw-dropping
Scottsbluff National Monument for another unique experience.