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: $14.50; $12.50 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- 10 a.m.- 5p.m. daily and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends spring-fall, check website for other hours.
Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard & Horse Rescue
INFO: 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-5 p.m.
INFO: 56 Gnarled Hollow Rd., Setauket; 631-689-8172, bennersfarm.com
PRICE: Farm admission is $6 ($5 ages 14 and younger); 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.
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. Guests arriving shortly before 4 p.m. can watch milking (starting June 1) in the milking parlor and look into the cheese making kitchen through a viewing window. Open Fri-Sun in April; daily May-Sept: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Center for Science Teaching and Learning
INFO: 1450 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre; 516-764-0045, cstl.org
PRICE: The "Amazing Animals Exhibit:" $6.
FEATURES: The animals on display include illegally smuggled animals seized by the US Fish and Wildlife Service donated to the center, animals that were either abandoned or rescued from inadequate living conditions and rehabilitated non-releasable wildlife; the center's live animal exhibit features a wide variety of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals. Call ahead for hours.
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium
INFO: 1660 Rte. 25A, Cold Spring Harbor; 516-692-6768, cshfishhatchery.org
PRICE: $6; $4 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. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
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; call or visit the website for details on tours and hours.
Harbes Family Farm
INFO: 715 Sound Ave., Mattituck, 631-298-0800, harbesfamilyfarm.com
PRICE: Adults: Mon-Thurs: $7.95; Fri-Sun: $12.95 on weekends.
FEATURES: Nigerian dwarf goats, horses, ducks and ducklings, bunnies, chickens, sheep, Red the bullcalf and Skittles the lamb; visit the Chick Observatory to learn the life cycle of chicken at different stages of life and watch pig races on weekends and holidays. Call ahead for hours.
Holtsville Park, Ecology Site and Wildlife Center
INFO: 249 Buckley Rd., Holtsville; 631-758-9664, brookhavenny.gov
PRICE: Admission is free (non-residents must pay a $5 parking fee).
FEATURES: Over 100 non-releasable or injured farm animals and wild animals; educational programs and guided tours available. Call ahead or check the website for hours.
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 p.m.-4 p.m.
Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center
INFO: 431 E. Main St., Riverhead; 631-208-9200; longislandaquarium.com
PRICE: General admission: $27.95; children ages 3-12: $21; seniors ages 62 and older: $23.50. Check website for "Aquatic Adventures" prices.
FEATURES: Indoor exhibits include aquatic plants and creatures, birds, insects, marmosets; outdoor exhibits include nocturnal animals, koi fish, alligators, river otters, sea lions, penguins, seals and reptiles. Interactive activities, camps and tours are available. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas Day).
Long Island Game Farm
INFO: 489 Chapman Blvd., Manorville; 631-878-6644; longislandgamefarm.com
PRICE: General admission: $18.95; children ages 3-12, military personnel and seniors ages 62 and older: $16.95.
FEATURES: Specimen collection includes an 18-foot giraffe, cougars, kinkajous and kangaroos among hundreds of both indigenous and exotic animals. Interactive activities, a petting zoo, carnival-style rides and nature trails are available. Call ahead or check website for hours.
Long Island Livestock Company
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: Butterfly Zoo features more than 100 butterflies including at least six species and 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 vineyard tours by horse-drawn carriage rides are available from May-Oct. (weather permitting); Scottish sattle, llamas and alpacas are available for guests to view.
PRICE: Carriage rides are $5; $3 for children (kids ages five and younger ride free).
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. Call ahead or check website for hours.
North Quarter Buffalo Farm
INFO: 1950 Roanoke Ave, Riverhead; 516-647-1146, northquarterfarm.com
FEATURES: Buffalo and horses; open to tour groups of twelve or more. Call ahead for hours.
PRICE: $5 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 (mainly large macaws and cockatoos) that were abused, mistreated and unwanted. Call ahead for hours.
South Fork Natural History Museum & Nature Center
INFO: 377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton; 631-537-9735, sofo.org
PRICE: $10; children ages 3-12: $7.50 (ages two and younger are free). Tues, Thurs: 4 p.m.-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 for hours or check website for occasional closures for holidays and events).
South Shore Nature Center
INFO: 30 Bayview Ave., East Islip; 631-581-2562, seatuck.org
PRICE: General admission is free.
FEATURES: Exhibits both include various live animals and mounted wildlife specimens. Grounds offer trails and boardwalks for wildlife viewing. Open Mon-Fri: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat-Sun: noon-4 p.m.
Suffolk County Farm and Education Center
INFO: 350 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank; 631-852-4600, ccesuffolk.org
PRICE: General admission is free.
FEATURES: Farm animals and a butterfly garden; also hosts camps, educational programs and an event calendar. Open daily: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (except for 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: Various animals are available for viewing; the grounds are home to native plants and animals. Also offers educational programs, a wildlife rehabilitation center and an event calendar. Open Mon-Fri: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat-Sun: noon-4 p.m.
Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center
INFO: Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh; 516-780-3295, parks.ny.gov
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 during the summer. 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: Trails for wildlife viewing; occasional guided hikes and live animal demonstrations. Open Mon-Fri: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
White Post Farms
INFO: 250 Old Country Rd., Melville; 631-351-9373, whitepostfarms.com
PRICE: General admission is $14-$18 (cash only); call ahead or check the website for prices.
FEATURES: Animal farm petting zoo, a free flight aviary, pony rides, among other animal exhibits; also features bounce rides, live entertainment and an event calendar. Call ahead or check the website for open days and hours.