Since 1907, Flamig Farm has developed into a reputable educational-resource facility complete with an extensive petting zoo. Visitors can frolic with emus, ducks, and sheep, then cuddle with bunnies and piglets. Though not included in this Groupon, the farm offers several other activities, including pony rides, hikes, and hayrides. The farm closes when the weather gets cold, so be sure to visit before animals migrate to Hollywood and resume their winter jobs as fast-food commercial spokesmen.
The 2013 Schoharie County Sunshine Fair is a weeklong celebration of farm life and summertime. This year's entertainment lineup includes everything from tractor pulls and monster trucks in the grandstand to live music and dancing every night in the party tent. By day, kids and adults can traverse the grounds to enjoy Rosaire's pig races, a petting zoo, juggling demonstrations, and the works of Brian Ruth, a chainsaw sculptor. The fair's parade, which takes place on Wednesday, July 31, at 6:30 p.m., will be led by the Beekman Boys, Schoharie County natives and winners of the The Amazing Race.
In 1936, Robert and Dorothy Leab drove their 13 head of cattle over Brodie Mountain and into Ioka Valley, where they broke ground on their new home. Despite the poor quality of the farm’s soil, their hard work gradually resulted in bountiful harvests. Decades later, the third generation of the Leab family still tills the land, planting assorted crops and opening the farm to visitors for year-round activities.
Each season brings new life to the farm, from the pastel buds and new shoots of spring to summer’s vibrant strawberries, which are grown on raised beds so visitors can pick their own pints. Kids frolic in Uncle Don’s Barnyard all summer, petting tame rabbits and llamas and whooshing down a 40-foot pipeline slide. Fall festival activities include hayrides and pumpkin picking, and during the winter, snow-covered Christmas trees can be carted home to add holiday cheer or provide a new project for the family’s pet beaver. Maple season stretches from February to April in the sugar house, occupied by 5,000 taps and two boilers. The farm churns out deep maple syrup that is served over pancakes and waffles in the Calf-A, a calf barn converted into a café. The farm’s cattle herds are pasture-raised during warm months, with their diet supplemented by the farm’s own corn, before becoming hormone-free, all natural beef.
Bailiwick Ranch & Discovery Zoo introduces visitors to exotic animals from around the world including camels, alligators, and Titan, a bengal tiger. Those who want to learn more can pair their trip with one of the educational shows offered daily at the zoo, or even have the animals come to them—certain zoo residents are available to travel for special events.
Over on the ranch side, kids can get up close and personal with a more domestic animal during horseback-riding lessons at the onsite equestrian center. After a few basic horsemanship lessons, students aged 7 and older can take part in trail rides around the ranch. The rides last anywhere from 30 minutes to a full day and traverse the nearby woods, mountains, and waterfalls of the Hudson Valley.
One of the largest conservation organizations in New England, Mass Audubon cares for 34,000 acres of natural land in a network of more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Its members receive free admission to these pacific preserves, where, alongside more than 150 endangered or threatened native species, they can breathe in Mother Nature’s perfume or have a good cry on her mossy bosom. During bird-migration season, alert gazes can capture some 300 species of sky surfer at Allens Pond on the South Coast, and visitors to Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm can re-enact Charlotte's Web with a motley band of sheep, cows, goats, and pigs.
Visiting The Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center is a lot like stepping into a nature documentary. Guests can take a self-guided journey to meet more than 200 creatures from across the world. They may stop by the habitats of the black and white ruffed lemur, the western bobcat, and the spotted leopard. Along the way, guests might learn a lot: for instance, that the Bennett's wallaby carries its young in a pouch, and that the critically-endangered cotton-top tamarin has lost more than 75% of its native habitat.
But in at least one way, the zoo accomplishes something that David Attenborough never could. Visitors can actually reach out and touch a creature during discovery programs. They can even adopt certain animals, perhaps helping provide tasty grasses and career guidance to a red kangaroo.
These programs exemplify the nonprofit zoo's dedication to wildlife education and awareness, something they hope to instill in their visitors from an early age. In the summer, educators spin "Animal Tales" for rapt young audiences and hold a Zoo Camp, where kids start to learn about diet and animal care. As kids' love of animals grows, the zoo invites them to volunteer as Crew in Training members. Once they hit college, students can become interns working on projects such as field studies of the patas monkey.