Where to see animals on Long Island
Whether you want to see a goat, spy on osprey, watch the sharks or just view the unusual, Long Island has an array of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish or amphibians that should suit your fancy. Here's our list of several places you can take the family to get a closer peek at nature. But before you go, be aware that feeding and/or petting the animals is off-limits at many places.
Animal Farm Petting Zoo and Family Park(Credit: Newsday / Ana P. Gutierrez)
296 Wading River Rd., LIE Exit 69, Manorville, 631-878-1785, afp.org. Features- Parrots, monkeys, llamas, reptiles, emus, wallabies, a zebu miniature cow and other exotic animals. Farm animals and babies can be petted and bottle fed. Free pony rides, Super Cow Musical Puppet Show, playgrounds, super slide and picnic areas. Group and birthday parties. Hours- 10 a.m.- 5p.m. daily and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends spring-fall, check website for other hours. Fee- $14.50, $12.50 seniors and ages 2-16.
Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard & Horse Rescue(Credit: Randee Daddona)
2114 Sound Ave., Baiting Hollow, 631-369-0100, baitinghollowfarmvineyard.com. Features- Rescued horses and on weekends from Memorial Day until mid-November, kids can enjoy pony rides from noon to 5 p.m. Price: Free.
Benner’s Farm(Credit: Benner's Farms)
56 Gnarled Hollow Rd., Setauket, 631-689-8172, www.bennersfarm.com. Features- A 15-acre family homestead, features chickens, rabbits, pigs, cows, horses, goats and more. They've been farming organically since the late 1970s in their family garden and fields of strawberries. Price: Farm admission is $6 ($5 ages 14 and younger); extra fees for workshops and other events.
Catapano Dairy Farm(Credit: Catapano Diary Farm)
33705 North Rd., Peconic, 631-765-8042, catapanodairyfarm.com. Features- A cheese-making area where you can watch organic goat's milk cheese being made. Call ahead for a tour which includes an interactive milking demonstration, cheese sampling and a guest bar of pure goat milk soap. Price: $10.
Center for Science Teaching and Learning(Credit: Center for Science Teaching and Learning)
1450 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre, 516-764-0045, castle.org. Features- Animals such as alligators, owls, hawks and iguanas in indoor and outdoor environments. Most are rescued creatures that can't be reintroduced into the wild. Hours- 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Fee- $6 for animal exhibit; free to tour grounds.
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium(Credit: Newsday / Nancy Borowick)
1660 Rte. 25A, Cold Spring Harbor, 516-692-6768, cshfishhatchery.org. Features- Brook and rainbow trout can be seen from fry through maturity, as well as freshwater fish, turtles, snakes and amphibians native to New York. Call for information regarding year-round Catch & Keep Trout Fishing Program. Hours- 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; closed Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Fee- $6, $4 ages 3-12 and older than 65, free younger than 2.
Hallockville Museum Farm(Credit: Randee Daddona)
6038 Sound Ave., Riverhead, 631-298-5292,www.hallockville.com. Features- Visit cows, sheep and chickens and then take a tour of the 19 historic houses, barns and outbuildings from the mid-18th century. Fee- For guided tours: $7 adults, $5 children and seniors.
Harbes Family Farm(Credit: Jeffrey Basinger)
715 Sound Ave., Mattituck, 631-298-0800, www.harbesfamilyfarm.com. Features- You'll find Shetland paint ponies, Nigerian goats, potbelly pigs, sheep, cows, bunnies and chicks. Don't forget to visit the Chick Observatory to learn the life cycle of chicken at different stages of life. Fee- $7.95 weekdays; $12.95 weekends; free for children 2 and younger (pony rides are extra).
Holtsville Park, Ecology Site and Wildlife Center(Credit: Newsday / Jim Peppler)
249 Buckley Rd., LIE, Exit 61, Holtsville, 631-758-9664, brookhaven.org. Features- Outdoor ecology center, domestic and wild animals, greenhouses; educational tours and classes are available. includes Safety Town, a replica for a miniature village with an indoor educational facility. Also available, picnic area, playground, jogging trail and outdoor pools. Hours- Animal preserve open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily in summer; call or visit the Ecology Site section of the website for spring, fall and winter hours. Fee- Resident/nonresident fees for pool and parking.
Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve(Credit: Thomas A. Ferrara)
200 New Highway, Cormack, 631-543-7804, www.smithtownny.gov. Features- 133 acres, dogwood, oak and hickory trees. Reproduction of typical Long Island Indian wigwam, domestic animals, a nature center, playgrounds and more. Open to Smithtown residents only.
Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center(Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)
431 E. Main St., Riverhead, 631-208-9200, longislandaquarium.com. Features- Coral reef displays, shark tank, sea lion shows, penguins, touch tanks and more than 100 exhibits and interactive experiences, including butterflies, bugs and birds, marmosets, American alligators and the Amazon rain forest. Hours- 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Fee- $27.95 ($21 ages 3-12).
Long Island Game Farm Wildlife Park and Children’s Zoo(Credit: Craig Ruttle)
Chapman Boulevard, LIE Exit 70, Manorville, 631-878-6644, longislandgamefarm.com. Features- "David Rosarie and his Perky Pekes" dog show on the main stage from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Giraffe and camel encounter, wildlife park, petting zoo, carousel and teacup rides, nursery, Bambiland, picnic areas, snack bar. Hours- 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat. and Sun., Memorial Day- Labor Day; check website for off-season hours. Fee- Check website.
Long Island Livestock Company(Credit: Long Island Livestock Co.)
125 Gerard Rd., Yaphank, 631-924-8110, www.lilivestockco.com. Features- Check out sheep, goats, llamas and other livestock. You'll also find homemade bath products, shearing, handspun and homespun yarns, and educational programs for children and adults. Price: Free.
Main Street Nursery(Credit: Newsday / Ed Betz)
475 W. Main St., Huntington, 631-549-4515, www.mainstreetnursery.com. Features- The Butterfly Zoo features more than 100 butterflies including black-and-white Zebra Longwings, tiny, pastel-colored Julias and Buckeyes. The small enclosure has at least six species and is designed to show Long Island plants that attract butterflies. Price: Free.
Martha Clara Vineyards(Credit: William Perlman)
6025 Sound Ave., Riverhead, 631-298-0075 Ext. 101, www.marthaclaravineyards.com. Features- Mom and Dad can enjoy a glass of wine and then head over to the petting zoo where you'll see a potbellied pig, donkeys, Highland cattle, llamas and horses. From June through October, you can take horse-and-carriage rides around the property. Price: $1 to feed the animals.
Norman J. Levy Park(Credit: Ian J. Stark)
1600 Merrick Rd., Merrick, 516-804-2000, nwsdy.li/levypark. Features- A herd of 25 Nigerian dwarf goats can be seen grazing daily; chicken, guinea fowl and white doves in the henhouse; wildlife including osprey, ducks, foxes, raccoons, opossums and reptiles. Also features 50 acres surrounded by tidal wetland, hiking trails, guided echo kayak tours, 18 exercise stations, accessible fishing pier on Merrick Bay and canoe and kayak launch. No dogs permitted. Hours- Opens 7 a.m. daily year round, closing time varies seasonally, check website. Fee- Free.
North Quarter Buffalo Farm(Credit: Newsday / Jim Peppler)
1950 Roanoke Ave, Riverhead, 516-647-1146, eastridinginc.com. Features- See about 300 buffalo from the road. Call Tweed's Restaurant & Buffalo Bar (17 E. Main St. in Riverhead, 631-237-8120) and they'll arrange a free tour.
The Priceless Parrot Preserve(Credit: Priceless Parrot Preserve)
3 Deer Leap Rd, Ridge, 631-924-8725, pricelessparot.org. Features- Takes in both domestic and wild birds, mainly large Macaws and Cockatoos, that were abused, mistreated and unwanted. Donations are welcome.
South Fork Natural History Museum & Nature Center(Credit: AP)
377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, 631-537-9735, sofo.org. Features- You'll find several live animals on hand, a marine life touch-tank, butterfly garden and other interactive exhibits. Fee- $10 adults, $7.50 ages 3 to 12, free for ages 2 and younger.
South Shore Nature Center(Credit: Ed Betz)
130 Bayview Ave., East Islip, 631-581-2562, seatuck.org. Features- 206 acres; 2.3-mile trail through salt marsh, upland oak and hickory forest; freshwater bottomland of tupelo, red maple, pond side shrubbery, including pepper brush, arrow wood and high bush blueberry; nature museum, picnic area and butterfly garden; weekend family programs; forest-based preschool; summer camps; school and Scout programs. Hours- 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. and noon-5 p.m. Sun., programming available all week; grounds open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Events- Check website for complete schedule. Fee- Free; $8 for some weekend programs; $25 individual membership, $50 family.
Suffolk County Farm and Education Center(Credit: Suffolk County Farm )
350 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank, 631-852-4600, ccesuffolk.org. Features- See llamas, sheep, pigs, rabbits, cows and other farm animals; picnic areas; preschool, school-age, family, senior programs; camp programs, summer butterfly house; programs for special-needs audiences. Hours- 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, all year, winter months some animals are not accessible. Fee-Free except for special events and some programs.
Sweetbriar Nature Center(Credit: Janine Bendicksen)
62 Eckernkamp Dr., Smithtown, 631-979-6344, sweetbriarnc.org. Features- 55 acres, hiking trails through an array of habitats, including wetlands, fields and forests with views of the Nissequogue River; fairy garden woodlands; self-guided nature trails; picnic area; restrooms. Hours- 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Butterfly and Moth House open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. during summer season (call or check website for dates). Fee- Butterfly and moth house: $5, $3 seniors and children.
Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center(Credit: Ian J. Stark)
Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh, 516-780-3295, nysparks.com/environment/nature-centers. Features- On a barrier island beach within Jones Beach State Park. An exhibit area depicts a variety of marine habitats, including the South Shore Estuary Reserve, the seashore and dune environment. Inside the center, children can touch live marine animals, look through a microscope or play in the kids' activity area. Outside the center, children can dig up whale bones in the Discovery Bone Cove, walk through the butterfly garden or view a shipwreck. An environmental boardwalk takes visitors into the dune environment to see plants and animals that live there. Interpretive programs available for schools, youth groups, clubs and the public. Hours- 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Sun. May 29- Labor Day, closed Mon.-Tues. (except for special permit request); 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. rest of the year. Fee- Free, programs $4.
Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center(Credit: Debbie Nieto)
134 Cove Rd., Oyster Bay, 516-922-3200, ny.audubon.org/trsanctuary. Features- 13 acres of trails, activities. View songbirds along the trails as well as reptiles and amphibians native to the Island. Call for more information on special programs. Seasonal offerings: owl prowls, vacation-day programs, guided hikes and bred walks, live-animal demonstrations. Hours- 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Fee- Free.
White Post Farms(Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)
250 Old Country Rd., Melville, 631-351-9373, whitepostfarms.com. Features- Petting zoo and animal farm with free flight aviary. Pony and train rides (extra fee), plus other kid-friendly seasonal entertainment. At Poppie's Lorikeet Landing, friendly Australian Lorikeets will drink nectar from your hand; nectar cups $3. Hours- Generally 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, but check website or call ahead. Fee- $12-$17 (csh only) includes animal farm, playground and some entertainment (fees apply for other activities).