The Lincoln Children’s Zoo and Botanical Gardens is one of the finest in the country. Where else can you see over 300 different animals like leopards, camels, eagles, crocodiles, otters and even mole rats! Over 1/3 of the animals are threatened or endangered species, so this might be your last chance to see them anywhere!

With the stunning new butterfly pavilion, the fun train and pony rides and the incredible botanical gardens with over 50 kinds of trees on view, nobody in the family will go home disappointed.

For the tiny members of your brood, there’s the Ager Play Center immediately adjacent to the zoo’s parking area that features a reading area, slides, two-story play structure, three ball pits, and a maze of tunnels. For those under four feet tall only, it’s a wonderland of safe and supervised fun for all the youngsters. While the kids are frolicking inside, adults can have a quiet moment outside the play center at the inspiring Liberty Plaza, where proudly stands Lincoln’s own replica of the Statue of Liberty.

We kind of like knowing she’s there, actually. Lady Liberty never looked so good! After a fun day with the animals, why not take a break to cool off at the imposing South 27th Street fountain that was built to honor Lincoln’s many dedicated educators? Or stop and smell the you-know-what’s in the beautifully decorated Antelope Park Rose Garden. It’s a great way to while away a warm, lazy evening and the rose garden and Teacher’s Fountain are free for all to enjoy. From the Teacher’s Fountain, you’re directly across the street from Lincoln’s newly renovated and improved Sunken Gardens Park.

Once you’ve seen it, you’ll know why this awe-inspiring park is recommended by National Geographic as one of the “must-see” gardens to visit in the U.S. and Canada. Originally built in the 1930’s during the height of the Great Depression, the Sunken Gardens have become the gorgeous centerpiece of our capital city. Legend has it that in the late nineteenth century, this same area was the site of a trash landfill for early Lincolnites. Today, its incomparable loveliness will (still) take your breath away and it’s all still free.