See Baby Animals and More at Petting Zoos in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Hold the soft rabbits at the Greenburgh Nature Center's petting zoo.
Hold the soft rabbits at the Greenburgh Nature Center's petting zoo.

Have an animal lover on your hands? Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley are filled with opportunities to see animals up close and personal—including petting zoos at local farms, nature centers, orchards, and animal sanctuaries. 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

The Greenburgh Nature Center gives kids the chance to see and touch various animals (like ferrets, guinea pigs, snakes, and turtles) at its indoor petting zoo exhibits. 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 Friday. The indoor exhibits require an admission fee, but kids under 2 are FREE; a Westchester Parks pass grants half-price admission.

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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. Take note, however, that indoor exhibits and building access is still closed due to COVID.

Stew Leonard’s – Yonkers

Stew’s Little Farm, located behind the gourmet food superstore, features sheep, cows, chicken, goats, and more, in a simulated barnyard setting. The farm opens for the season in late April and remains open through the fall.

RELATED: Guide to Pick-Your-Own Farms in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Stone Barns Center lets kids meet baby animals like its flock of lambs at its petting zoo
See adorable lambs and more farm animals at the Stone Barns Center.

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, like its annual Sheep Shearing. The center is open Thursday 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. Currently, all guests 5 years and older are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes a booster shot for those who are eligible. Proof of vaccination must be shown upon arrival. All experiences except breakfast and weekday on-site parking require reservations.

RELATED: Spring Festivals and Fairs for Westchester and Hudson Valley Families

See dairy cows at Kelder's Farm
Meet the friendly farm animals at Kelder's Farm.

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. Open daily, 10am-6pm, during the growing season, which starts in May.

Catskills Animal Sanctuary – Saugerties

The Catskills Animal Sanctuary is home to more than 300 animals, including cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, and horses. If you want to make a weekend getaway of your trip, you can even stay overnight at the sanctuary's guest house or in one of the many nearby hotels or B&Bs. Weekend tours are offered, and Saugerties and the surrounding towns also have plenty of dining options. The public tour season runs from May through November on weekends. There are 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. 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 feed the animals. There's also a treetop adventure course open on weekends and a fun park with giant slides, a bounce house, rope maze, pedal kart track, and lots more open in the fall. The petting zoo is open daily starting in April.

Ochs Orchard – Warwick

This favorite pick-your-own spot also has a small petting zoo with miniature goats and resident donkeys Misty and Eeyore. Open daily during farm store hours, there is no charge to visit.

This post, originally purchase in 2017, is updated annually. Photos courtesy of the farms

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