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Unique Animal Encounters in New York State

by Mary Melnick

Apr 9, 2021

© Howard Nevitt, Jr. | Dreamstime.com

Age Specific / Multigenerational

Calling all animal-loving families — it’s time for a visit to New York State! Although you can travel just about anywhere or even stay in your own home state to visit a zoo or aquarium, New York offers unique encounters with animals.


Buck Brook Alpaca Farm

Almost everyone has probably taken a dog on a walk at least once, but have you ever walked an alpaca? In Roscoe, you can take a walk with an alpaca, learn the basics of harnessing and showing, then explore the Catskills on a guided walk around the farm.


The Bronx Zoo

Travel around the world without ever leaving New York City — the Bronx Zoo is a national treasure with more than 6,000 animals from 700 different species on 264 acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits. Explore the Wild Asia exhibit, reopening in May, and go on a safari via monorail to catch a glimpse of elephants, rhinos, red pandas and more.


Via Aquarium

Via Aquarium in Schenectady allows travelers to go back in time thanks to the arrival of Via Dino Discovery in the adjoining Via Port Mall. The animatronic replicas of the dinosaurs are interactive and lifelike. Visitors can see Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex. The aquarium is home to 37 exhibits with more than 2,000 creatures — you can also watch sharks swim over your head and feed stingrays.


Long Island Aquarium

Although it’s called Long Island Aquarium, the Riverhead structure is home to birds, butterflies, otters and marmosets, along with sharks, jellyfish, eels, piranhas and more. This is one of the few places you can see so many ecosystems in one location.


Wild Center and Wild Walk

Located in the Adirondacks, the Wild Center is a one-of-a-kind nature museum. Take a walk along The Wild Walk, a boardwalk over the treetops that lets you feel what it’s like to be an animal in the woods. You will get a chance to meet some of the animal ambassadors up close, like a turtle, porcupine or an owl!


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