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Animal Encounters

Whether they’re city kids, country kids, or from somewhere in between, children love animals. And New York offers a surprising number of fun animal encounters for families. Check out our list of great places to meet animals in NYC–and check out their websites for fun summer happenings, like Animal Tales Extravaganza at the Bronx Zoo and Summer Camp Live! at the Queens County Farm Museum.

Animal Encounters

No pets allowed in your apartment building? No problem! New York has a
plethora of activities and destinations that allow your kids to get up
close and personal with tons of animals, from ponies to polar bears and
everything in between!

The Zoos: No summer schedule is complete without at least one trip to one of the city’s great zoos. While the Bronx Zoo may be the most expansive (be ready to devote several hours to your outing, and know that you still might not see everything!) the Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and Staten Island Zoo are all great and diverse destinations for families; check out the Central Park Zoo’s new sea lion pup, Bruiser, or learn about the Henry Ford, the new red panda at the Staten Island Zoo. Check online before you go to learn about educational programs and performances to include in your family’s itinerary.

American Museum of Natural History: The Lizards and Snakes: Alive! exhibit features over 60 live “squamates” from around the world (think emerald boas, komodo dragons, geckos and more!).

The Queens County Farm Museum: This museum encompasses a 47-acre plot of land, and is the only working historical farm in the city. Admission is free and animal feed is available for purchase, so kids can come face-to-face with friendly goats and sheep!

Art Farm in The City: This eco-friendly and organic site teaches kids about nature, animals and how to protect the planet. The indoor petting zoo features creatures like bunnies, chinchillas, lizards and turtles, and kids can also partake in arts and crafts and creative play in the playroom.

Bronx Equestrian Center: This full-service equestrian center in Pelham Bay Park offers pony and trail rides, horse back riding lessons and hayrides. Kids can even get some face time with a friendly llama named Lucky!

The New York Aquarium: This 14-acre underwater wonderland features more than 300 marine species. Kids will enjoy the exhibits on sharks, sea lions and sting rays, and can stand under a 400-gallon tidal wave (and stay completely dry!) at the beach exhibit.  

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
Phone: 212-769-5100
amnh.org

The Art Farm in The City
419 E. 91st Street
New York, NY 10128
(between York & 1st Ave.)
Phone: 212.410.3117
theartfarms.org

Central Park Zoo
5th Avenue & E 64th St
New York, NY 10065
(212) 439-6500
centralparkzoo.com

The Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10460
(718) 220-5103
bronxzoo.com

Queens Country Farm Museum
7350 Little Neck Parkway
Glen Oaks, NY 11004
(718) 347-3276
queensfarm.org

Bronx Equestrian Center
9 Shore Road
Bronx, New York 10464
(718) 885-0551
bronxequestriancenter.com

The New York Aquarium
602 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11224.
(718) 265-3474
nyaquarium.com

Prospect Park Zoo
450 Flatbush Avenue
NY 11225
(718) 399-7339
Prospectparkzoo.com

Staten Island Zoo
614 Broadway
Staten Island, NY 10310-2896
(718) 442-3100
statenislandzoo.org