Gia Rizzo of Franklin Square feeds the giraffe at the...

Gia Rizzo of Franklin Square feeds the giraffe at the Long Island Game Farm in Manorville. Credit: Debbie Romanello, Franklin Square

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,

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.

The Center for Science Teaching and Learning in Rockville Centre...

The Center for Science Teaching and Learning in Rockville Centre offers programs that include animal encounters. Credit: Center for Science Teaching and Learning

Center for Science Teaching and Learning

INFO 1450 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre; 516-764-0045,

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,

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,

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 and Exhibition Center in Riverhead has sea lion...

Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead has sea lion shows. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Long Island Aquarium 

INFO 431 E. Main St., Riverhead; 631-208-9200,

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,

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.

The Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve in Merrick has...

The Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve in Merrick has a barn for goats.  Credit: Newsday/Barbara Alper

Norman J. Levy Park

INFO 1600 Merrick Rd., Merrick; 516-804-2000, 

FEE Free

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,

FEE Free

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,

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,

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.

An fox at Sweet Briar Nature Center in Smithtown photographed...

An fox at Sweet Briar Nature Center in Smithtown photographed August 6, 2020. Credit: Chris Ware

Sweetbriar Nature Center

INFO 62 Eckernkamp Dr., Smithtown; 631-979-6344,

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,

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,

FEE: Free

FEATURES Features 13 acres of trails with songbirds and other wildlife. Hours Dawn-dusk daily.

White Post Farms in Melville has a pay-one-price petting zoo...

White Post Farms in Melville has a pay-one-price petting zoo and animal farm. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

White Post Farms

INFO 250 Old Country Rd., Melville; 631-351-9373,

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).

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