Zoos & Gardens

Animal Farms and Petting Zoos for Boston Kids

Living in or near the city means most kids today don’t have a lot of access to farm animals. But many children absolutely love cows, chickens, pigs, goats, and sheep. If your little one warms to barnyard creatures, they'll have a blast at one of these local farms or zoos, where they can interact with some favorite furry creatures. 

Socrates Sculpture Park: A Hidden (and Free) Gem in Queens

It’s a total cliché to say something is a hidden gem, but in the case of Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens, it’s hard to find a description that’s more apt. For four years, I constantly drove past the park, which is somewhat concealed behind a tall fence on Vernon Boulevard and Broadway, on the way to my daughter's school. Finally, my family decided to investigate.

We weren’t expecting to find a five-acre, open-air art park with amazing views of the East River and Manhattan. It was built on a landfill and unofficial dumping ground 30 years ago and has a free-wheeling bohemian vibe reminiscent of the '60s or '70s. Artwork changes regularly, but the people who visit are invariably engaged in the same activities: wandering among the sculptures, sunbathing, reading, taking in the city views or gardens, or just having old-fashioned conversation. (In all seriousness, it's one of the few places I can think of where I rarely see someone absorbed in a cell phone.)

Meet the Animals: 6 Great Animal Farms and Petting Zoos near Philly

This spring and summer, there's so much to do to get outside: festivals, parks, spray groundsamusement parks, and more. But your little animal lover might be craving some one-on-one time with some cute and cuddlies, and there's no better time to visit the local petting zoo or animal farm than summer. Luckily, there's a handful of great places in the area for just that.

Queens Botanical Garden: Festivals, Classes, and Family Fun

Queens hosts one of the city’s largest parks, amazing beachfronts and, of course, its own botanical garden. The garden plays host to myriad family festivals and programming for kids year-round. It even offers one of the city's few "forest" or nature-based outdoor preschool programs.

It's a hike to get to if you're not right there in the Flushing neighborhood, though. So is it worth it? We've visited many times and wanted to highlight some of our favorite sights at this top NYC garden when visiting with kids.

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