An 18-foot giraffe cranes its neck to look at passing visitors. Across the path, ring-tailed lemurs swing between the trees. Nearby, alligators thrash in a swamp, and ostriches strut through the grass. The animal handlers at Long Island Game Farm—comprising a team of veterinary students and environmental workers—care for these native and exotic species in re-creations of their natural habitats. On any regular day, they guide visitors past enclosures populated by aoudad sheep, cougars, zebras, and red kangaroos, and demonstrate the creatures’ eating habits through scheduled viewable feedings. They also let visitors feed giraffes, goats, and zebras by hand, and discuss each creature’s lifestyle without judging them by their nighttime hobbies.
A series of trails winds through woods and public picnic areas, leading to areas such as Bambiland—an enclosure for Mediterranean and native deer—and Old MacDonald's Farmyard, where visitors can bottle-feed baby animals and hang out with pigs, rabbits, goats, and ponies. Park staffers also help smaller visitors on and off the park’s carnival rides that include spinning teacups, a miniature train, and an antique carousel. In the summer, they further engage children in Camp Zoo, a one-week day camp during which an experienced instructor teaches participants about environmental conservation and divulges facts and gossip about various animals.
Belly dancer Amira Mor has tapped finger cymbals for Moroccan royalty and shimmied for the prime minister of Jordan. Her moves can be elegant or sensual: she coached Britney Spears through new routines at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City, and has also choreographed for the New York City Ballet. Her moves have also landed her a role Sex and the City 2 and taken her to Guantanamo Bay, where she led belly dance boot camps for U.S. Marines. “From the moment Mor begins her dance,” a reporter for the Star-Ledger wrote, “there’s no doubt who’s in charge.… She wears a fringed bustier spangled with gold, and, for a skirt, slashes of sparkly fabric that whip away from her body as she spins, which she does in a blur of speed.…”
At Amira Mor International Entertainment Company, anyone interested in belly dancing can benefit from the award-winning dancer's instruction. With the help of fellow dance instructor Stephanie, she teaches groups some traditional Middle Eastern moves, drawing on modern innovations including flashy hip movements and songs about fax machines. Additionally, Amira is a certified fitness instructor, so she can also help students on quests for sculpted abs.
LiloVeve—a composite of the words "live" and "love"—is part gallery, part wedding-band boutique, and part jewelry-making school. First came the gallery. Caroline Glemann founded it to showcase a range of art that includes paintings, photos, and a permanent jewelry collection. Jewelry-making students take classes and workshops to pick up skills in metalwork, wax carving, and gold alloying. They can even learn about design from an industry perspective, or prep for the SAT's recently added fashion section. Handmade rings adorn betrothed digits after LiloVeve craftspeople lovingly solder, saw, and pierce each sparkling circle.
Operating since the early 1900s and voted Best Petting Zoo of 2011 by readers of the Long Island Press, White Post Farms stimulates visitors with a smorgasbord of exciting diversions. Guests commune with an exotic menagerie of man’s second-best friends in the petting zoo, home to zebras, kangaroos and a sublimely patient giant tortoise. Friends of the feathered can hang out at Ronnie’s Birdie Landing, a free-flight aviary that boasts a 70-foot waterfall and a flock of parakeets that moonlight as a Flock of Seagulls cover band (feed, $0.92–$4.61, is not included). Guests can also enjoy the company of faux furry companions, gawking at the spectacle of the animatronic Animal Band Jamboree and the Singin’ Chicken Show.
For more than 25 years, Drama Kids International has nurtured thousands of thespian students and kids simply searching for an engaging activity, instilling children with the ability to speak clearly and confidently. Classes focus on sharpening articulated speech and encouraging creative expression. Children are placed in classes according to their age group: the Lower Primary (ages 5–8) teaches kids how to deliver lines and hone social skills, the Upper Primary (ages 9–11) delves into improvisation and dramatic movement, and the DKI Acting Academy (ages 12–17) preps scene-stealers on how to audition for their dream role. Each class includes a variety of activities for kids to unleash their imagination, which develops their dramatic abilities in a fun, easy-going setting. Drama Kids instructors foster an open, comfortable acting environment. Call ahead to schedule the first class and start your child down the path of becoming one of the more notable Baldwin brothers.
Reflecting the diverse scope and scale of science itself, the exhibits at the New York Hall of Science range from massive NASA rockets to holographic depictions of the infinitesimal atom. Originally built for the 1964 World's Fair to showcase technological advancements, the center has since transformed into an interactive museum that, since 1986, has seen more than 7 million visitors. Today, more than 450 interactive exhibits invite visitors of all ages to explore the world by watching living microbes thrive and evolve in a miniscule zoo, discovering the powerful mathematics hidden in everyday objects, and testing their understanding of physics and Plutonian trash talk on a mini-golf course inspired by the cosmos.