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
INFO: 296 Wading River Rd., Manorville (LIE Exit 69); 631-878-1785, afpz.org
PRICE: $15.50 adults; $13.50 seniors and ages 2-16.
FEATURES: parrots, monkeys, llamas, tortoises, emus, wallabies, mini cows among other exotic animals. Farm animals and babies can be petted and bottle fed. Free pony rides, Super Cow Musical Puppet Show, playgrounds and picnic areas. Group and birthday parties. Hours: Weekdays 10 a.m.- 5p.m. and Weekends 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Check the website for any closings and more information.
Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard & Horse Rescue
INFO: 2114 Sound Ave., Baiting Hollow; 631-574-9667, baitinghollowfarmvineyard.com
FEATURES: Rescued horses and on weekends from Memorial Day until mid-November, kids can enjoy pony rides from noon-5 p.m.
INFO: 56 Gnarled Hollow Rd., Setauket; 631-689-8172, bennersfarm.com
PRICE: $8 for adults and $6 for children and seniors; extra fees for workshops and other events.
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. Open weekends noon-4 p.m.
Catapano Dairy Farm
INFO: 33705 North Rd., Peconic; 631-765-8042, catapanodairyfarm.com
PRICE: General admission is free.
FEATURES: Guests may walk around the farm and see the dairy goats (including the newborn kids), as well as two mini-horses, the flock of chickens and the farm's resident llama. There is a cheese shop (that features free samples); cheeses include signature chevre, aged goat and sheep cheeses (early in the season) and goat yogurts, ricotta and feta as well as goat milk fudge (later in the season). Fresh eggs, jams, local honey and other seasonal items are also available, as is the "Delicate Doe" goat milk skin care line, all made on the farm with fresh goat milk. Hours are 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through April and extended weekends (Mon., Fri., Sat., Sun.) starting May.
Center for Science Teaching and Learning
INFO: 1450 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre; 516-764-0045, cstl.org
PRICE: $15 adults, $12 seniors and children.
FEATURES: Dinosaurs! including robotic and life-size skeletal dinosaurs. Animal Adventure Park which has goats, prairie dogs, a hawk and an emu. They also host classes outside of their exhibits, but those require registration. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Daily. For more information on pricing, class times and registration visit the website or call.
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium
INFO: 1660 Rte. 25A, Cold Spring Harbor; 516-692-6768, cshfishhatchery.org
PRICE: $7; $5 for ages 3-12/ older than 65 (ages two and younger are free).
FEATURES: Brook and rainbow trout can be seen from fry through maturity, as well as freshwater reptiles, fish and amphibians, guests can feed trout; call ahead for information regarding the "Catch & Keep" fishing program. Starting June 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
Hallockville Museum Farm
INFO: 6038 Sound Ave., Riverhead, 631-298-5292, hallockville.com
PRICE: $7; children ages 5-12 and seniors: $5.
FEATURES: Cows, sheep and goats; Starting May 26th the are open Sunday through Friday noon-4 p.m. for self guided tours. Tours are given Saturdays 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Harbes Family Farm
INFO: 715 Sound Ave., Mattituck, 631-298-0800, harbesfamilyfarm.com
PRICE: Weekday $10.95, Friday through Sunday and Holidays $18.95
FEATURES: Nigerian dwarf goats, horses, ducks and ducklings, bunnies, chickens, sheep, Red the bull calf and Skittles the lamb; visit the Chick Observatory to learn the life cycle of chicken at different stages of life. Starting May 11 till June 18 open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Check their website, Facebook or call for any more information.
Holtsville Park, Ecology Site and Wildlife Center
INFO: 249 Buckley Rd., Holtsville; 631-758-9664, brookhavenny.gov
PRICE: Admission is free; parking fees apply May-October.
FEATURES: Outdoor ecology center, domestic and wild animals, greenhouses; educational tours and classes are available. Includes Safety Town, a replica of a miniature village with an indoor educational facility. Also has picnic area, playground, jogging trail and outdoor pools. Animal preserve open daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in summer.
Hoyt Farm Nature Center
INFO: 200 New Highway, Commack; 631-543-7804, smithtownny.gov
PRICE: Admission is free (parking fee is $12 for non-residents).
FEATURES: Live animals include turtles, fish, snakes, frogs and salamanders; also features a Native American artifact collection and environmental displays. Open daily Memorial Day- Labor Day: 1-4 p.m.
Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center
INFO: 431 E. Main St., Riverhead; 631-208-9200; longislandaquarium.com
PRICE: General admission is $29.50 ages 13-61, $25.50 seniors, $22.50 ages 3-12.
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, alligators and the Amazon rain forest. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day).
Long Island Game Farm
INFO: 489 Chapman Blvd., Manorville; 631-878-6644; longislandgamefarm.com
PRICE: General admission: $16.95 ages 13-61; $14.95 ages 3-12, seniors and military personnel.
FEATURES: Squawk! The Amazing Bird Show daily in summer, giraffe, wallaby and tortoise encounters, alligator feeding, petting zoos, carousel and teacup rides, Nursery, Bambiland, picnic areas, snack bar. Hours 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Check website for offseason hours.
Long Island Yarn & Farm
INFO: 125 Gerard Rd., Yaphank; 631-924-8110, lilivestockco.com
FEATURES: Aside from the resident llamas (a group of approximately 20), there are two pot belly pigs, chickens, alpacas, sheep, angora goats, and an angora rabbit, as well as a dog and cats. There are also educational programs, homemade bath products and shearing sessions; homespun yarns are also available. Call ahead for hours.
Main Street Nursery
INFO: 475 W. Main St., Huntington; 631-549-451, mainstreetnursery.com
PRICE: Admission is free.
FEATURES: Currently featuring newborn chicks. The butterfly Zoo opens July 4th and includes more than 100 butterflies including at least six species. It is designed to show Long Island plants that attract butterflies. Call ahead for hours.
Martha Clara Vineyards
INFO: 6025 Sound Ave., Riverhead; 631-298-0075, marthaclaravineyards.com
FEATURES: Educational walking vineyard tours are available from May-Oct. (weather permitting); Scottish sattle, llamas and alpacas are available for guests to view. Call or visit website for available times.
Norman J. Levy Park
INFO: 1600 Merrick Rd., Merrick; 516-804-2000, toh.li
FEATURES: Nigerian dwarf goats and Guinea fowl, as well as various types of wildlife. Kayaking (June-Aug.) and fishing are also available, as are hiking and jogging trails. Hours vary by season but starting May 7 a.m.-7:30 p.m.<.
North Quarter Buffalo Farm
INFO: 1950 Roanoke Ave, Riverhead; 516-647-1146, northquarterfarm.com
FEATURES: Buffalo and horses; tours available beginning in June and by reservation.
PRICE: $20 per person.
The Priceless Parrot Preserve
INFO: 3 Deer Leap Rd., Ridge; 631-924-8725, pricelessparrot.org
FEATURES: Nonprofit organization takes in both wild and domestic birds that were abused, mistreated and unwanted. They care for over 100 parrots that are among 30 different species. Visit the website or call for more information.
South Fork Natural History Museum & Nature Center
INFO: 377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton; 631-537-9735, sofo.org
PRICE: $15adults; $10 ages 3-12 (ages two and younger are free). Tues, Thurs: 4-5 p.m.: free.
FEATURES: Live native reptiles, amphibians and fish, including a marine touch-tank that holds various sea creatures. The grounds also offer wildlife viewing, and the museum features nature reproduction exhibits. Open daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call ahead or check website for occasional closures during holidays and special events.
South Shore Nature Center
INFO: 130 Bayview Ave., East Islip; 631-581-6908, seatuck.org
PRICE: $8 weekend programs; Free Saturday nature program; $25 for membership; $50 family membership
FEATURES: 2.3-mile trail through salt marsh, upland oak and hickory forest; freshwater bottomland of tupelo, red maple, pondside shrubbery, including pepper bush and highbush blueberry; nature museum, picnic area and butterfly garden; weekend family programs; forest-based preschool; summer camps; school and Scout programs. Open 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. For more information on programs, events and pricing visit the website or call./p>
Suffolk County Farm and Education Center
INFO: 350 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank; 631-852-4600, ccesuffolk.org
PRICE: General admission is free (with the exception of special events and programs).
FEATURES: This farm has llamas, sheep, pigs, rabbits, cows and other farm animals. Families cab use the picnic areas and register for nature-based programs or camps. This summer there will be a butterfly house. The also offer programs for special-needs audiences upon request. Open daily: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (except Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day).
Sweetbriar Nature Center
INFO: 62 Eckernkamp Dr., Smithtown; 631-979-6344, sweetbriarnc.org
PRICE: Admission varies; generally $10 (call ahead).
FEATURES: Hiking trails through wetlands, fields and forests with views of the Nissequogue River; Nature museum with interactive simulated rain forest and local forest exhibits ($2), Nature Discovery area for young children, self-guided nature trails; picnic area. Seasonal exhibits include Butterfly House ($3-$5), events include Butterfly and Bird Wildlife. They operate starting at 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; the Butterfly House opens at 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. during summer season. For any more information call or visit the website.
Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center
INFO: Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh; 516-780-3295, parks.ny.gov
PRICE: $4 per person.
FEATURES: Live marine animals are available to touch; also features a children's microscope, depictions of marine habitats and a boardwalk that offers wildlife viewing. Open Sat-Sun: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; also open some holidays and features extended days starting May 29th. Call ahead or check website for more information.
Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center
INFO: 134 Cove Rd., Oyster Bay; 516-922-3200, ny.audubon.org
FEATURES: 13 acres of trails. View songbirds as well as native reptiles and amphibians. Check website for special programs. Hours Gardens and trails open daily dawn-dusk
White Post Farms
INFO: 250 Old Country Rd., Melville; 631-351-9373, whitepostfarms.com
PRICE: General admission is $16-$20. (cash only); call ahead or check the website for prices.
FEATURES: Market, garden center, petting zoo and animal farm with flight aviary and monkey barn. Pony/train rides (fee), pony birthday parties available year-round. The Animal farm is open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; the market, garden center and deli are open daily 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.