Whether you want to see a goat, spy on an osprey, watch 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. 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
FEE $18.95 adults, $16.95 ages 2-16 and seniors
FEATURES Camel, parrots, monkeys, llamas, tortoises, emus, wallabies, mini cows among other exotic animals. Farm animals and babies can be petted and bottle fed. Super Cow Musical Puppet Show, Baby Barn, playgrounds and picnic areas. Pony rides and Family Train, extra fee. Group and birthday specials. Hours 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through fall.
Center for Science Teaching and Learning
INFO 1450 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre; 516-764-0045, cstl.org
FEE $15 ages 13 and older, $12 ages 1-12
FEATURES "Dinosaurs!" exhibit includes robotic and life-size skeletal dinosaurs. Animal Adventure Park has goats, snakes, turtles, an emu and many more animals. Classes by registration. Hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thur.-Tue.
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium
INFO 1660 Rte. 25A, Cold Spring Harbor; 516-692-6768, cshfishhatchery.org
FEE $7, $6 seniors 65 and older, $5 ages 3-12, free for ages 2 and younger
FEATURES Brook and rainbow trout, from fry through maturity, as well as freshwater fish, turtles, snakes and amphibians native to the state. Offers year-round Catch & Keep trout fishing program Fri.-Tue., online reservation required ($16 per person, $4 per trout caught). Hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun. June-Aug.
Holtsville Park, Ecology Site and Wildlife Center
INFO 249 Buckley Rd., Holtsville; 631-451-5330, brookhavenny.gov
FEE Free. Parking Town residents, free with town sticker; nonresidents use meters, $4 per hour Mon.-Thur., $5 per hour Fri.-Sun. and holidays
FEATURES Outdoor ecology center, domestic and wild animals, greenhouses; educational tours and classes available. Includes Safety Town, a replica of a miniature village with an indoor educational facility. Also picnic area, playground, jogging trail. Hours 10 a.m.-3 p.m. daily until May 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily through Sept. 29.
Long Island Aquarium
INFO 431 E. Main St., Riverhead; 631-208-9200, longislandaquarium.com
FEE $45.99 ages 13-61, $32.99 for seniors 62+, $31.99 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. Hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. and holidays.
Long Island Game Farm Wildlife Park and Children's Zoo
INFO 489 Chapman Blvd., Manorville; 631-878-6644, longislandgamefarm.com
FEE $24.95, $21.95 seniors and military, $18.95 ages 3-12; fee for giraffe & wallaby encounters and pony rides
FEATURES Squirrel monkeys, giraffe, lemurs, zebra, African serval cat, animal encounters, tortoise sanctuary, petting zoos, picnic areas and snack bar. Hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Oct.
Norman J. Levy Park
INFO 1600 Merrick Rd., Merrick; 516-804-2000, hempsteadny.gov
FEATURES: A herd of Nigerian dwarf goats can be seen grazing; wildlife including osprey, ducks, foxes and reptiles. Also features 50 acres surrounded by tidal wetland, hiking trails, accessible fishing pier on Merrick Bay and canoe and kayak launch. Hours Opens 7 a.m. daily, closing time varies seasonally.
Quogue Wildlife Refuge
INFO 3 Old Country Rd., Quogue; 631-653-4771, quoguewildliferefuge.org
FEATURES Features 305 acres, 7 miles of trails through habitats including pine barrens, bogs, wetlands, a field, and a tidal estuary; outdoor wildlife complex houses permanently injured wildlife that require human care to survive, including owls, tortoises, reptiles and other native New York animals; educational programming throughout the year. Hours Sunrise-sunset daily for refuge trails and outdoor wildlife complex; nature center, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue., Thur., Sat.-Sun.
South Shore Nature Center
INFO 130 Bayview Ave., East Islip; 631-581-6908, seatuck.org
FEE Free (program fees may apply)
FEATURES 2.3-mile trail through salt marsh, upland oak and hickory forest; nature museum, picnic area, weekend programs. Hours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily grounds; visitor center, 1-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
Suffolk County Farm and Education Center
INFO 350 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank; 631-852-4600, ccesuffolk.org
FEE Free (fee for special events)
FEATURES Llamas, sheep, pigs, rabbits, cows and other farm animals; picnic areas; nature-based programs including special-needs audiences. Hours 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, closed holidays.
Sweetbriar Nature Center
INFO 62 Eckernkamp Dr., Smithtown; 631-979-6344, sweetbriarnc.org
FEE Free; $7 adults, $5 ages 2-14 for butterfly vivarium; $2 for rainforest exhibit
FEATURES Hiking trails through wetlands, fields and forests with views of the Nissequogue River; nature museum with interactive simulated rainforest and local forest exhibits. Seasonal butterfly vivarium. The nature center has a reptile room and rehabs a variety of wildlife including owls, birds, ducks, turtles and goats. Hours Nature center and preserve, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily; butterfly vivarium, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily June 13-Sept.
Tackapausha Museum and Preserve
INFO 2225 Washington Ave., Seaford; 516-571-7443, nassaucountyny.gov
FEE $5, $3 ages 5-12
FEATURES Features a 3,000-square-foot natural history museum with displays about the ecology of Long Island, as well as animal exhibits and shows and interactive activities for children. Along the 5 miles of nature trails, see more than 170 bird species identified within the preserve, along with raccoon, muskrat, gray squirrel and opossum; picnic area. Hours 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thur.-Sun.
Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center
INFO 134 Cove Rd., Oyster Bay; 516-922-3200, ny.audubon.org/TRSAC
FEATURES Features 13 acres of trails with songbirds and other wildlife. Hours Dawn-dusk daily.
White Post Farms
INFO 250 Old Country Rd., Melville; 631-351-9373, whitepostfarms.com
FEE $28.95; additional cost for pony and train rides, animal feed
FEATURES Petting zoo and animal farm with barn animals, bird aviary, monkey barn, giraffe station (when above 60 degrees), plus a market and garden center. Hours 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (last admission at 5).