The best petting zoos for kids in NYC

Visiting NYC petting zoos? Adorable goats, pigs, alpacas and other creatures will greet you and your brood upon arrival!

Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher
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Don't let the massive skyscrapers and taxi cabs fool you—NYC's best petting zoos prove that you can experience farm life right in the middle of Gotham. 

Say hello to Texas longhorns, prarie dogs, goats, sheep and other adorable creatures at your favorite family attractions and zoos in New York City. You'll even get a chance to feed the hungry residents, so grab a handful of grains!

RECOMMENDED:  Full guide to outdoor activities for kids in NYC

These family-friendly spots, including the Queens County Farm Museum and Tisch Children's Zoo in Central Park, make for a great day trips for kids, so start planning your visit to the best petting zoos NYC families can't resist.

Petting zoos

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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/baconsnake
Attractions, Zoo and aquariums

Bronx Children's Zoo

icon-location-pin The Bronx

Looking for a run-in with mini nubian goats, donkeys or prairie dogs? The Bronx Zoo's got you covered. The seasonal children's zoo exhibit ($6 with a Total Experience ticket) is 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. Learn more at bronxzoo.com

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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/cuttlefish

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? Learn more at queensfarm.org

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Propsect Park Zoo
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/santheo
Attractions, Zoo and aquariums

Prospect Park Zoo Barn & Garden

icon-location-pin Prospect Park

We hope you have a fistful of grain at the ready—the animals' tummies 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 (admission is $6.95 for children 3–12, $9.95 for adults 13 and up). Learn more at prospectparkzoo.com

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Art Farm
Photograph: Victoria Jackson Photography
Things to do, Play spaces

The Art Farm

icon-location-pin Upper East Side

Instead of jungle gyms and storytimes, this indoor family space’s defining feature is its live animals. Your tot can mingle with birds, bunnies, turtles and hamsters, and participate in seasonally focused cooking classes, art activities and music workshops (various prices depending on the season). The space also offers longterm classes and camps. Count us in! Learn more at theartfarms.com.

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Tisch Children's Zoo at WCS's Central Park Zoo
Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher
Attractions, Zoo and aquariums

Central Park Zoo Tisch Children's Zoo

icon-location-pin Central Park

Nestled within Manhattan’s most magnificent park, this zoo houses more than 30 species, including a few that enjoy being petted. Little ones will love getting acquainted with potbellied pigs, sheep and goats at the Risch Children's Zoo (which is open year-round and included in the Total Experience Ticket, $14.95 ages 3–12, $19.95 adults 13 and over). The petting zoo/children's space gives kids room to crawl, jump and climb around, just like the creatures that call the zoo home. If the littles have their heart set on feeding the cute inhabitants, make sure to arrive between 10am–2pm. Sea lion and penguin feedings in other areas of the zoo are sure to draw shrieks of joy from the tots as well. Learn more at centralparkzoo.com

Time Out says
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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/islespunkfan

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 ($19.95) 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 whitepostfarms.com

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Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher
Attractions, Zoo and aquariums

Queens Zoo Domestic Animals

icon-location-pin 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. Admission is $9.95 for adults and $6.95 for children ages 3–12. Learn more at queenszoo.com.

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