If you're looking for an urban farm experience, Bushwick City Farm is the place to visit without leaving the city. Bushwick City Farm is a FREE, volunteer-run establishment, serving the neighborhood. The farm's volunteers help build and maintain vegetable gardens for local public schools and various service groups. Although this urban farm doesn't have much of a petting zoo, it has chickens visitors can feed and pet (gently). It's also home to ducks, guinea hens, one turkey, and several cats. The farm is only open to visitors on weekends, so check its Facebook page for hours and updates.
2020 update: Bushwick City Farm is open for the summer with a newly planted garden. Don’t forget to wear your mask if venturing out to this urban farm. It’s only open to visitors on weekends, so check the Facebook page for hours and latest updates, including livestreams of chicks hatching.
2. Queens County Farm Museum – Floral Park, Queens
The most budget-friendly pick on our list, the Queens County Farm Museum, generally offers FREE admission. On its seasonal festival dates, such as the Sheep Shearing Fest in May, and the many popular fall festivals, require an admission fee. On non-festival days, visitors can peruse the 47-acre grounds and purchase food to share with the resident goats. You can also spot pigs, chickens, cows, sheep, and honeybees. Weekend visitors can take a tour of the historic farmhouse, and seasonal hayrides are offered.
2020 update: The Queens County Farm Museum has temporarily closed but expects to reopen during Phase 4. The farm is operating its seasonal farm stand. For more farmyard fun, tune into its #Barncam daily at 4pm.
3. Alstede Farms – Chester
(About 1 hour by car from Midtown Manhattan, also accessible via NJ Transit)
This New Jersey farm is the perfect spot to celebrate the season. We're always recommending it for pick-your-own strawberries, veggies, peaches, apples, and more, but equally as impressive is the barnyard full of furry animals waiting to greet guests. There's no admission fee to see the animals. Pack a lunch for the farm animals—think carrots, lettuce, and apples—or purchase a handful of pellet feed from machines located around the farm. Tip: bring quarters. Expect to spot rabbits, pigs, chickens, and ducks. Pony rides are usually available for a fee during weekends and on festival days, as well as more year-round farm entertainment like hayrides, mini train rides, and even bounce houses. Alstede gets bonus points for accessibility: Car-free families can hop on New Jersey Transit to the Gladstone station, then take a cab or the FREE Alstede Farms Courtesy Coach to the farm.
2020 update: Alstede Farms is open for business with some changes. It features a revamped outdoor farm store, outdoor dining, and wine tasting options, live entertainment on weekends, and of course, farm animals! For pick-your-own, tickets must be purchased online in advance to receive a time slot, and face coverings must be worn on the fields.
4. Brookhollow's Barnyard – Boonton
(About one hour by car from Midtown Manhattan)
This family-owned petting zoo invites guests to interact with farm animals big and small. It's a local NJ favorite. Kids enjoy rides on the cow train and pedal tractors. The farm is home to goats, rabbits, cows, rams, and more. Kids are invited to feed the animals (for a $5 admission fee) and to enjoy the barnyard playhouse and sandbox.
2020 update: Brookhollow's Barnyard now offers a drive-through farm option on Sundays. Visitors can also walk-through the farm Tuesday-Saturday. The farm is closed on Mondays. Tickets are released online every morning at 10am for the following day’s availability, and everyone ages 2+ must have a ticket to enter. No bathrooms are available, so plan accordingly.
5. Demarest Farms – Hillsdale
(About 40 minutes by car from Midtown Manhattan)
Demarest is the closest out-of-state farm to Manhattan. Just a short drive from the George Washington Bridge, and you are surrounded by farm fun. Kids can feed the friendly animals in the barnyard, while parents appreciate the farm stand with its fresh salad bar, rotating array of homemade soups, and other seasonal goodies.
2020 update: While the barnyard is currently closed, Demarest Farms is offering peach picking with online reservations, and using its parking lot for regular drive-in movie nights.
6. Secor Farms – Mahwah
(About 40 minutes by car from Midtown Manhattan)
While you might visit this spot for all of your gardening needs, be sure to make time to hang with the animals. Feed is available for purchase in the farm store, and photo-ops abound with the ducks, goats, sheep, alpacas, and cows that call Secor home.
2020 update: It's business as usual at Secor Farms, but masks are required. Check the farm’s Facebook page for updates and upcoming events.
7. Long Island Game Farm – Manorville
(About 1 hour and 40 minutes by car from Midtown Manhattan)
This game park is open seasonally from mid-April to mid-October. A visit here gets you up close and personal with wild, exotic creatures as well as the usual barnyard friends. Kids can hand-feed Clifford, the resident giraffe, and a pair of friendly camels. There's a forest dubbed "Bambiland," where deer sidle up to you for a treat, as well as opportunities to feed goats, llamas, alpacas, and a donkey by hand. You can bottle-feed the littlest residents in the nursery. Pony rides are offered, as well as a small selection of carnival-style amusement park rides.
2020 update: The Long Island Game Farm reopened on July 8, enacting stricter guidelines and protocols for visitors and staff. Food stations remain closed, but drinks and snacks can be purchased onsite. Outside food is not permitted. To enter the zoo, everyone must wear a mask.
8. White Post Farms – Melville
(About 50 minutes by car from Midtown Manhattan)
Long Island's White Post Farms is almost a mini zoo. It hosts a variety of animals, domestic and exotic, including Patches, the giraffe. In addition to feeding barnyard friends, plan to visit the free-flight aviary, where you can hand-feed small birds, including budgies, lorikeets, and cockatiels as they fly overhead. Feed sticks are available for purchase. The farm hosts seasonal attractions, such as water slides, hayrides, and animal shows on weekends. White Post Farms is cash-only, but ATMs are on site. Register for its email list to collect money-saving coupons and to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.
2020 update: White Post Farms reopened July 10 with new safety protocols. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. There will be hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout the zoo. Restrooms and food stations are open but without self-service options. Face masks are required.
9. Lewis Oliver Farm and Animal Sanctuary – Northport
(About 1 hour and 20 minutes by car from Midtown Manhattan)
Annabelle the cow is a beloved resident at the Lewis Oliver Farm and Animal Sanctuary, which is home to other rescued animals like goats, sheep, alpacas, chickens, ducks, peafowl, and turkeys. Admission is FREE, but consider donating when you visit to help the farm pay for animal care expenses. While the farm is open 365 days a year, weekend hours depend on volunteer availability, so check Facebook for updates.
2020 update: The farm is open during its regular hours. Check out the frequently updated Facebook page for live music events on the farm’s front porch. The back gates and children’s meadow are also open, where you can visit the animals. Or come shop at the farm’s country store on Saturdays.
10. Greenburgh Nature Center – Scarsdale
(About 45 minutes by car from Midtown Manhattan)
The nonprofit nature preserve is set on 33 acres of land in lower Westchester County. Kids enjoy visiting the barnyard full of sheep, goats, chickens, and rabbits. The preserve is also home to birds of prey, including eagles, hawks, and owls. The center's great lawn offers a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the sunny weather while kids take full advantage of the natural playground surrounded by boulders and trees. Save time for a hike on one of its wooded nature trails, too. Don't miss the seasonal butterfly exhibit, running June through August.
2020 update: Outdoor animal exhibits at the Greenburgh Nature Center are open to visitors. However, the Manor House (including restroom facilities) and playground are closed to the public until further notice. The nature center is also offering summer programs for the whole family.
11. Silverman's Farm – Easton
(About 1 hour and 15 minutes by car from Midtown Manhattan)
The entire family will enjoy feeding buffalo, llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, fallow deer, and exotic birds at Silverman's Farm. Picnic tables are available in the park area. Guests can pick up fresh pies, local honey, and fresh produce during their visit.
2020 update: The animal farm and farm market are open daily, with new guidelines in place. Silverman's Farm has created a one-way walking experience for proper social distancing. The playground is currently closed. There are port-a-potty facilities on-premises, as well as hand washing and sanitizing stations. Face masks are required for everyone over the age of 2.