Zoos & Gardens

Best Petting Zoos around LA Where Kids Can Get Their Animal Fix

Kids of all ages love animals, from babies barely aware that the cow goes "moo" to older kids who can somehow spit out the full Latin name of a rare South American pig most adults don't know exists. So it's very special when children get the opportunity to go beyond the classic zoo to meet critters in closer quarters, and even get their hands on them (gently, of course). 

Quogue Wildlife Refuge: Get Up Close With Nature, Animals

The Quogue Wildlife Refuge is one of our favorite hidden Long Island gems. Set back from a curved road, the 300-acre nature preserve on the East End boasts FREE family fun via wildlife, water, and wonderment.

Continue to foster a love of learning outside with our favorite outdoor classrooms and nature centers. Looking for more ways to experience nature? How about a visit to one of our favorite places to interact with birds and butterflies on Long Island? Or consider our favorite family-friendly hiking trails and bikes trails for Long Island families. Of course, you can keep exploring with our guide to more day trips on and near Long Island.  

NYC's Only Corn Maze and More Fall Fun at the Queens Farm Museum

There aren't many better ways to get the family excited for the fall in NYC than taking the kids for a tour through a three-acre corn maze in the middle of Queens and letting their imaginations run wild. The Queens County Farm Museum's Amazing Maize Maze opens for the season September 22, and it's just one of the quintessential fall activities happening at this New York City institution.

The Amazing Maize Maze is the only corn maze in the city. My family and I have conquered lots of these mazes and can happily say that the one at the Queens County Farm Museum is just as much fun as its country counterparts. We made it through in just about one hour—even with a pair of 8-year-olds leading the way. That left us plenty of time to enjoy other farm fun. We've got some tips for how to make the most of your visit to the farm and the corn maze. But no, we aren't giving you the route. You'll still need to figure that out yourself!

Kids Age 10 and Up Are Now Eligible for IDNYC

Big news for tweens (and their parents!): IDNYC, the municipal identification card, which comes with a ton of family-friendly benefits, has lowered its minimum age for eligibility to 10 years old. This means middle schoolers are now eligible for the FREE ID.

When the IDNYC program was Initially launched in 2015, the minimum eligible age was 14. Read on for more details on the application process, and the reasons why you should book your tween's appointment now.

Visiting the Staten Island Zoo with Kids

There are so many great zoos in NYC, and each zoo has something different to offer. Prospect Park Zoo is perfect for the toddler set, the Bronx Zoo is designed for the more adventurous child, Central Park Zoo is steeped in historic charm...but what about Staten Island? This compact zoo is the perfect layout for small children, but offers a huge variety of programs and species for kids of all ages. Head across the Verrazano (or take the ferry!) for a day of fun with the animals. 

Free Times to Visit NYC Museums, Gardens, and the Zoos

Many of New York City's top museums, zoos, gardens, and cultural institutions offer FREE or reduced admission on certain nights, days, or hours at least once a month—a city perk that no busy, cash-strapped parent should miss out on! Plus, many of the "grown-up" museums let kids in for free year-round.

It can be hard to keep track of when and where these freebies are available, so we've compiled an exhaustive list of reduced or FREE admission days at all of your favorite NYC cultural spots from the Bronx Zoo to the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

As always, you can check our Events Calendar for more budget-friendly kid activities every day or peruse our Free in NYC Guide. Try our Museum Guide or Zoos and Gardens Guide for more on the latest kid-friendly art and exhibitions in NYC. Also, don't forget to put your library card to work for free admission anytime at many of these same places!

Explore Lush Gardens and Nature with Kids at Reeves-Reed Arboretum

The perfect antidote to the stress of crazy family schedules might well be Mother Nature herself—and Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit is just the place to stop and smell the roses.

The Arboretum is not your average park outing; this serene Union County oasis offers some unique and interesing ways to learn about and experience the outdoors while giving the whole family some much needed R&R.

The Best Zoos and Aquariums in NYC

Ever think you would spot a seal in Manhattan, or a giraffe in The Bronx? Did you ever hope you'd be surrounded by sharks at Coney IslandNew York city zoos offer families the chance to get up close and personal with animals from all over the world.  Each borough boasts its own unique zoo experience. Whether your children are big or small, there is a zoo somewhere in NYC suited to their age, interests and attention span. Best of all, access to these creatures doesn't have to break the bank. Free admission can be as easy as picking the right afternoon to visit. Check out our insider tips for making the most of New York City's zoos.

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