Best Animal Petting Zoos near Westchester and the Hudson Valley Where Kids Can Meet Animals

Touch the soft rabbits at the Greenburgh Nature Center's petting zoo in Scarsdale. Photo courtesy of the center
Touch the soft rabbits at the Greenburgh Nature Center's petting zoo in Scarsdale. Photo courtesy of the center
5/12/24 - By Janine Annett

Westchester and the Hudson Valley are filled with petting zoos where animal-loving kids can see furry friends up close and personal. Many of these spots also offer kid-friendly activities and fun things to do in addition to the chance to see, touch, and feed horses, goats, cows, pigs, chickens, alpacas, and more.

Read on for our top picks for local petting zoos, and find more seasonal fun in our Guide to Spring Activities in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.


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Where to See Farm Animals in Westchester County

Faraway Farm Alpacas – Yorktown Heights

Visitors are welcome at Faraway Farm Alpacas. Families can schedule a visit to tour the farm and see the alpacas and Icelandic Horses. Alpacas are soft, sweet, gentle animals whose fleece is valued for its softness in yarn. The farm store features various alpaca garments (sweaters, shawls, hats, gloves, etc.), blankets, toys, and yarn. Visits to the farm are by appointment only, so call ahead. And there are virtual options available, too!

Greenburgh Nature Center – Scarsdale

At its indoor petting zoo exhibits, the Greenburgh Nature Center allows kids to see and touch various animals (like ferrets, guinea pigs, snakes, and turtles). There's also a playground and trails to explore, where kids just might see birds and other small animals like squirrels and chipmunks in their natural habitat. There's even a beehive at the nature center. While the Greenburgh Nature Center's grounds are open from dawn to dusk, the indoor exhibits are open every day except Monday. The indoor exhibits require an admission fee, but kids under 2 are FREE; a Westchester Parks pass grants half-price admission.

RELATED: Where to See Cherry Blossoms in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley This Spring

Kids can feed cows at Muscoot Farms, one of our favorite petting zoos near Westchester
While not a petting zoo, Muscoot Farms still allows kids to get up close to its farm animals. Photo by Megan Newhart

Muscoot Farm – Somers

The Alfred B. DelBello Muscoot Farm is a popular spot for many local kids and families. This beloved, kid-friendly farm has been around since the late 1800s and houses plenty of animals, including cows, pigs, chickens, goats, and sheep, with lots of room to walk and explore. The farm doesn't allow visitors to touch or feed the animals, and dogs are not allowed. The farm is open seven days a week, year-round—and admission is FREE. 

Stew Leonard’s – Yonkers

Stew’s Little Farm, located behind the gourmet food superstore, features sheep, cows, chickens, goats, and more, in a simulated barnyard setting. This season's opening date hasn't been announced yet for 2024, but last year it opened in early June. 

Stone Barns Center – Tarrytown

The Stone Barns Center is perhaps most well-known for its famous restaurant—Blue Hill at Stone Barns—but it has much more to offer. Visitors can explore the grounds and check out the animals (pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, and more). The Stone Barns Center also has events, some of which are family-friendly. The center is open Wednesday through Sunday. Dogs are allowed, but they must be leashed and are prohibited in certain areas. Make sure to visit the cafe for lunch or snacks. 

Kid-Friendly Farms in Ulster County

Kelder’s Farm – Kerhonkson

Visitors to Kelder's can pet such farm animals as sheep, goats, alpacas, cows, and donkeys. There's also a playground, giant jumping pillow, and mini golf—not to mention the largest garden gnome you've ever seen. Dogs are welcome, but they must be leashed. Check out the calendar for hours and upcoming events. 

Catskills Animal Sanctuary – Saugerties

The Catskills Animal Sanctuary is home to 200 animals, including cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, and horses. The public tour season kicks off in April, with regular 90-minute tours and family-focused 60-minute tours, designed for children under age 4. Tickets for all tours must be booked in advance and there are also private options. Drop-in visits are not allowed.

Petting Zoos in Dutchess and Orange Counties

Barton Orchards – Poughquag

Barton Orchards offers tons of family fun in the spring, summer, and fall. In addition to pick-your-own fruits and flowers, and a host of other family-friendly activities, Barton Orchards has a petting zoo where children can check out animals like horses, alpacas, and goats (and even feed the goats!). There's also a treetop adventure course open on weekends. 

Ochs Orchard – Warwick

This favorite pick-your-own spot also has a small petting zoo with miniature goats, donkeys, and even peacocks. It's open daily and there is no charge to visit.

This post, originally purchase in 2017, is updated annually. 

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