The Queens County Farm Museum dates back to the 17th century and features old-fashioned farm buildings, a greenhouse complex, livestock, planting fields, an orchard, an herb garden and a vineyard. As soon as you walk through the gates, you feel like you've left the city. Read on to learn more about New York City's only historic working farm and why it's a fantastic destination spot for NYC kids.
The Queens County Farm Museum, spanning 47 acres, is a real treat for the preschool set. You're able to get up close and personal with the farm animals including very friendly chickens, baby pigs, geese and goats. While your average petting zoo can feel like, well, a zoo, the Queens County Farm Museum is much more laid-back and many animals roam free. I bought my daughter a bag of goat feed at the gift shop—she loved feeding them (she even scolded an overzealous one for not sharing). She also had great fun "chatting" with the geese and following the chickens. I think she would have gone right inside the chicken coop if they had let her! She got face to face with a rabbit that was munching away on one of the plush lawns. Seeing the animals and watching the farmers planting and harvesting gave my little urbanite a better understanding of how much work goes into the food we put on our tables every day.
While visitors are welcome to explore the grounds on weekdays, there's more action on the weekends, like free guided tours of the historic Adriance Farmhouse and hayrides for a nominal fee April through November. The gift shop sells farm-themed toys and children's books, a beautiful selection of plants from the greenhouse, homemade wine and other locally produced products. In the summer, there's also a vegetable stand (you can also pick up the farm's produce at the Union Square Greenmarket on Fridays). (In 2012, the Queens County Farm Museum was one of 40 historic sites vying for Partners in Preservation grants and was awarded $80,000 to restore the exterior of the Adriance Farmhouse.)
Amazingly, visiting the Queens County Farm Museum is (usually) FREE. That said, the farm does host many beloved annual events, like the American Indian Mid-Summer Pow-Wow, the Amazing Maize Maze, the Queens County Fair, an Apple Festival, and Easter, Halloween and holiday celebrations. On those days, admission fees apply.
Although my daughter and I opted to drive, the Queens County Farm Museum is accessible via public transportation. Take the E or F subway to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike Station and transfer to the Q46 bus to Little Neck Parkway. It's located at 73-50 Little Neck Parkway in Floral Park, Queens, and is open daily year-round from 10am-5pm.
For more fun for kids in Queens, check out our Queens Family Neighborhood Guide.
This post was originally published in April 2012.