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 only zoo in the state and a participant in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Program, Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo has charmed visitors for more than 80 years with more than 300 cared-for critters and a mission that minds the tenets of ecological education, conservation, and recreation. Patrons brandishing a Director's Circle membership can visit the zoo an unlimited number of times for one year, plenty of time to navigate the sundry indoor and outdoor exhibits on the back of a Roomba. Guests can espy such endangered species as the siberian tiger, red wolf, and golden lion tamarin, as well as the zoo's most recent denizens on display: two canada lynx and a pair of common rhea. In spring, patrons can go snout-to-snout with a rare chacoan peccary piglet, whose birth made the zoo the first in the Northeast to host an infant of her species and prompted a feature in the Monroe Courier. Birds ride unsuspecting propeller beanies in the South American rainforest exhibit's free-flight aviary, and children play interspecies games of Heads Up, Seven Up in the prairie-dog exhibit's pop-up viewing capsules. After chowing down at the Peacock Café, groups can befriend more statuesque creatures on a vibrantly painted carousel.
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.
"I love the early mornings out on my tractor preparing the soil, checking the fields," muses Farmer Pete. "We care about this land, the food it provides, the visitors growing family traditions." That care is evident to anyone who visits Barton Orchards. The farm?lovingly maintained by Farmer Pete, his dad, Bruce, and a staff of experts?produces a wealth of pick-your-own fruits and veggies that range from summery peaches and green tomatoes to fall staples such as pumpkins and Braeburn apples.
But produce is just the tip of the spading fork. Each fall, Barton Orchards beckons visitors to its corn maze, which was voted one of the Top 10 Corn Mazes for Families by Kidventurous. The maze, also featured in the New York Post, winds participants through 5 acres of cornstalk artwork and quizzes as they immerse themselves in the theme of the year. This year's theme is "Mazes in Movies" and will make reference to Harry Potter, The Maze Runner, and Labyrinth. In celebration of the fall season, Barton Orchards also hosts a haunted house and a fun park with a football pitch, slides, and trains.
Brothers Daniel and Stanley found the perfect land for Taft Farms in 1961. Ever since then, the Tawczynskis have been maintaining pesticide-free sustainable agriculture there. Fourth-generation family members of all ages can still be found running the store and around in the fields. Visiting families can participate in hayrides, corn mazes, and pumpkin picking.
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.