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Petting Zoo Goat Kids
Photograph: Shutterstock

The petting zoos NYC kids and families love

We list the best of the city's petting zoos, with top choices in every borough!

By Hannah Doolin, Allie Early, Danielle Valente and Oliver Strand

What better reason to get outside than to visit one of the best petting zoos in NYC? It's a chance for your little one to get up close and personal with the animal kingdom, and learn how to be kind to our fine furry friends. 

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That's right: You can experience farm life right in the middle of Gotham! Round out your adventure with a detour to one of the 50 most epic playgrounds in NYC or one of the best water playgrounds for kids in NYC, and you'll have one of the best days ever. Add to that a visit to one of the best ice cream shops in NYC or one of the best soft-serve ice cream spots, and you're a shoo-in for parent of the year!

Petting zoos

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/baconsnake

1. Bronx Children's Zoo

Attractions Zoo and aquariums The Bronx

The petting zoo at the Bronx Zoo's is a fuzzy, furry delight. It's perfect for the tots in your crew who would love an opportunity to come face-to-face with adorable farmyard creatures. Let them feed hungry critters and take photos with their animal of choice for a memorable afternoon at one of NYC's most beloved attractions. Note that paying a visit is different in 2020, and you should familiarize yourself with the new regulations. Learn more at bronxzoo.com

Tisch Children's Zoo at WCS's Central Park Zoo
Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher

2. Central Park Zoo Tisch Children's Zoo

Attractions Zoo and aquariums Central Park

The Tisch Children's Zoo at the Central Park Zoo is one of the gems of Manhattan. The petting zoo and children's play space gives kids room to crawl, jump and climb around, just like the creatures that call the zoo home. Little ones will love getting acquainted with potbellied pigs, sheep and goats. Don't miss the sea lion and penguin feedings in the main part of the zoo! Note that paying a visit is different in 2020, and you should familiarize yourself with the new regulations. Learn more at centralparkzoo.com

Art Farm
Photograph: Victoria Jackson Photography

3. The Art Farm

Things to do Play spaces Upper East Side

A petting zoo on the Upper East Side of Manhattan? Yep. During weekend visiting hours, your tot can mingle with birds, bunnies, turtles and hamsters, and participate in seasonally focused cooking classes, art activities and music workshops. At other times, the space hosts classes, camps and birthdays. Count us in! Learn more at theartfarms.com.

Propsect Park Zoo
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/santheo

4. Prospect Park Zoo Barn & Garden

Attractions Zoo and aquariums Prospect Park

We hope you have a fistful of grain at the ready—the tiny tummies of the animals are rumbling! Little ones can enjoy a meet and greet session with sheep, pigs, alpacas and other sweet animals at the year-round Prospect Park Zoo Barn & Garden. Note that paying a visit is different in 2020, and you should familiarize yourself with the new regulations.  Learn more at prospectparkzoo.com

Staten Island Chuck at the Staten Island Zoo
Photograph: Courtesy Staten Island Zoo

5. Staten Island Zoo

Attractions Zoo and aquariums Staten Island

Among the inhabitants of this eight-acre haven, you'll find a brother-and-sister pair of fossas, which make their home in the African exhibit, next to two tiny tenrecs—nocturnal, hedgehog-like animals that are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and may have up to 42 teeth. The small petting zoo has plenty of fuzzy fun for the kids. Learn more at statenislandzoo.org.

Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher

6. Queens Zoo Domestic Animals

Attractions Zoo and aquariums Queens

No need to travel across the country to encounter wildlife—the Queens Zoo's domestic animals will give you a taste of America's most interesting inhabitants right in NYC. Say hello to Flemish giant rabbits (who are a whopping 20 pounds and more), Texas Longhorns and belted Galloway cows, to name a few. Note that paying a visit is different in 2020, and you should familiarize yourself with the new regulations. Learn more at queenszoo.com.

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/islespunkfan

7. White Post Farms

This fifth-generation family farm has been in operation since 1886, drawing families to Long Island to meet all sorts of amazing creatures. Kids get the chance to hand feed the animals and even give them milk from a bottle. The most unique aspect of this farm is Ronnie's Bird Landing, a free-flight aviary where colorful parakeets flit by, waiting to be fed birdseed sticks. Included with admission are animatronics shows like The Animal Band Jamboree, plus wet and dry bouncers in the summertime. Families can also romp around on playgrounds and in a massive sandbox, ride ponies (an added fee) and hop on the Farmland Express and Mining Adventure activities. Learn more at animalpettingzoo.com.

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/cuttlefish

8. Queens County Farm Museum

Gotham's gridlock of busy streets and impressive skyline make it hard to believe that farmland exists within the five boroughs. But if you venture to the Queens County Farm Museum, a 47-acre of land that dates back to the late 1600s, you'll see a whole different side of NYC. The family-friendly attraction boasts seasonal happenings (like an incredibly impressive corn maze in the fall) as well as kid-approved features like its farm animals. Youngsters can get a peek at cattle, pigs, goats, hens and even honey bees when they make a visit. Who doesn't like a taste of rustic wildlife right in the heart of the greatest city in the world? UPDATE: THE QUEENS COUNTY FARM MUSEUM IS CURRENTLY CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC, BUT PLANS TO REOPEN SOON. Learn more at queensfarm.org.


9. Green Meadows Farm Brooklyn

The Green Meadows Farm Brooklyn is located at Aviator Sports & Events Center the epic recreational facility at Floyd Bennett Field. There are ponies to ride, alpacas to feed, chickens to watch—plus hayrides, play spaces and other fun activities. UPDATE: GREEN MEADOWS FARM BROOKLYN IS CURRENTLY CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC, BUT PLANS TO REOPEN SOON. Learn more at greenmeadowsfarmbrooklyn.com


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