It's no secret that children love to see all kinds of animals, from camels to kangaroos, from pigs to parrots. Luckily, you don't have to go into the city or beyond to take the whole family to see animals. Here are some zoos that are right on Long Island, where kids and their adults can spend a delightful day watching animals prance, leap or graze.
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Open from April through October, the The Animal Farm Petting Zoo features a Safari Train Tour, pony rides, turtle train rides and shows. The main attraction is the zoo's acres and acres of animals including kangaroos, monkeys, camels, llamas, an assortment of reptiles, parrots, ostriches and more. Kids can even bottle feed baby pigs, calves, goats and lambs.
There's also a nature shop as well as picnic areas to enjoy your lunch, and playgrounds where the kids can work off some of their energy.
For current admission fees, please visit The Animal Farm Petting Zoo. (Note: there are group rates available for parties of 20 or more. See their website for more details.)
There's also a Zoo Rescue Program. The zoo takes in unwanted, abandoned and abused animals. You can bring some love and care into an animal's life by adopting a pet. Choose from animals including rabbits, ducks, turtles, parrots, hamsters, pigs, monkeys, chickens, chicks and more. Call the zoo at (631) 878-1785... for more information.
The Animal Farm Petting Zoo
296 Wading River Road
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The Town of Brookhaven's Holtsville Wildlife & Ecology Center features a FREE zoo and more, all built on a reclaimed landfill. Kids can view buffalo, bobcats, eagles and more.
The zoo is generally open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Winter hours (October 1 through September 30): Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Summer hours of the animal preserve (May 1 through September 30): open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.
The complex also features a park that offers a triple pool complex, an exercise trail fitness course, nature preserve, ecology exhibits and tours, free compost, greenhouses and a picnic area.
Holtsville wildlife & Ecology Center
249 Buckley Road
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The Long Island Game Farm wins bragging rights to its status as the largest combined children's zoo and wildlife park on Long Island. The venue generally closes for the winter in October and reopens the following spring. (Visit www.longislandgamefarm for current opening dates and hours.)
The whole family will enjoy viewing animals ranging from red kangaroos to kinkajous to cougars, peacocks, a giraffe and the only lemurs in the world born and bred on Long Island. In addition, there are camels, parrots, alligators, zebras and many other species of animals that will delight the kids and their adults.
Nature trails in the Game Farm lead to "Bambiland," "Old MacDonald's Farmyard" and more. Kids can pet and feed some of the baby animals that call the place home. There are also rides for the kids, including an antique carousel. During the off=season, pony rides are available on weekends. See their website for current rates.
Long Island Game Farm & Children's... Zoo
located at Exit 70 of the Long Island Expressway
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The Suffolk County Farm & Education Center
The Suffolk County Farm & Education Center is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day.
Kids can view a variety of animals including sheep and goats on this 300-acre, working farm. There are also regularly scheduled family programs such as a St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt and Baby Animal Day; a children's garden where kids can learn about making compost and more; a butterfly house where kids and their adults can view the life cycle of native butterflies.
Suffolk County Farm & Education Center
350 Yaphank Avenue