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Social Events


Pre-Conference Birding Tour - Sandhill Crane Annual Spring Migration
Wood River, NE

Saturday, March 19, 3:30 am - 2:30 pm

Not included with registration; $40 per person

Journey to central Nebraska to witness an estimated 500,000 Sandhill cranes as they make their annual spring migration north, passing through the Nebraska Platte River Valley flyway.  Buses depart the Hilton Omaha at 3:30 am to bring you to prime viewing locations for the morning lift off from crane roosting sites on the river.  A loop of crane migration roosting and feeding sites will be visited, to include crane viewing platforms, area viewing bridges, and the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center.  Buses will depart for Omaha around lunchtime. 

Transportation, light breakfast, and lunch will be provided.


Pre-Conference Tour - Blank Park Zoo
Des Moines, IA
Saturday, March 19, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm

Not included with registration; $55 per person

The Blank Park Zoo is a 30-acre AZA-accredited institution featuring over 205 species of animals. The only accredited zoo in the state of Iowa, guests can enjoy giraffe, lions, tigers, sea lions, an indoor rainforest, red pandas, a walk-thru Australia exhibit with wallaby and much more. Several exhibits have undergone recent renovations and winter 2015 marks the grand opening of a new veterinary facility. Bundle up for March weather in the Midwest to enjoy new exhibits, hands-on experiences and training demonstrations, all part of the zoo’s guest experience focus.

Transportation, lunch, and an afternoon snack will be provided.


Icebreaker at the Durham Museum
Monday, March 21, 6:30 - 9:00 pm

Union Station opened its doors to the public on January 15, 1931, as one of the finest of Art Deco architecture in the United States. This magnificent facility served millions of rail travelers and was well-known for its “modern” amenities and lavish style. Today, Union Station serves as the home of The Durham Museum and is home to permanent exhibits that preserve Omaha’s vibrant history, traveling exhibits covering subjects ranging from history and culture, to science and industry, and many entertaining, educational, family-oriented activities. The Durham Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and has strong ties with the Library of Congress, National Archives, and The Field Museum.

Transportation will be provided to and from the Durham Museum.  Buses will leave at approximately 6:15 pm.  One ticket to the Icebreaker is included with a full or 3-day registration (when Monday is selected).  Additional tickets can be purchased for $40 per person.


Zoo Day at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
Tuesday, March 24, 1:30 - 8:30 pm

Transportation will be provided to and from Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.  Buses will leave at approximately 1:30 pm.  One ticket to Zoo Day is included with a full or 3-day registration (when Tuesday is selected).  Additional tickets can be purchased for $40 per person.


Post-Conference Tour - Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park & Lincoln Children’s Zoo
Ashland, NE and Lincoln, NE
Friday, March 25, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Not included with registration; $75 per person

Explore some of Nebraska's AZA-accredited zoos! Depart from the Hilton Omaha at 8:30 am with stops at Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland and the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Your first stop is Wildlife Safari Park, a drive-thru park, only 30 minutes from Omaha, with places to get out and explore, featuring North American species. You’ll not only drive-thru, but you'll get to spend time behind the scenes in the hospital and rapture area. Your next adventure takes you a short 30 minute trip to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.

Experience firsthand the Lincoln Children Zoo's unique style of guest engagement. You will enjoy animal shows, learn about the Zoo's Matschies tree kangaroo program, experience behind the scenes tours of their newest exhibit, Tortoise Trek, along with the Animal Care Center, and program animal areas. There will also be time for you to explore on your own and see snow leopards, Humboldt penguins, red pandas, and more! The bus will depart the Lincoln Children’s Zoo at 4:00 pm returning to the Hilton Omaha at around 5:00 pm.

Transportation, light breakfast, and lunch will be provided. 





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