Though the park is geared for the younger set, even my 10 and 12 year olds enjoyed it, especially the animal show (more about that later). Long Island Game Farm is a wildlife park and children’s zoo. It’s a small farm, don’t expect the Bronx zoo, but do expect to get up close and personal with animals like deer, goats, peacocks, bunnies and our favorite , a giraffe named Clifford who we got to feed 3 times. What a gentle and personable big guy! I don’t know of anywhere else you can hand feed a giraffe, do you?
If you’re looking for leisurely afternoon with the family out in nature, or on your way out east and have a few hours to spare, definitely take the kids to the LIGF. Located right off exit 70 of the LIR, it’s been there for 44 years and has 25 acres and hundreds of animals. From the minute you walk through the front entrance, let the kids lead you on the “boardwalk,” stopping at the various pens and large cages to visit with the animals. The monkeys are adorable and we got to laugh at one licking the inside of a banana peel! Some other fun stops were the cougar, the ostriches, the bison, the lemurs and we even got to see some peacocks put on a magnificent show for us (they are just something, aren’t they?).
LIGF also has 3 small rides for the kids to enjoy: a slow moving tea cup ride (don’t expect crazy spinning), a miniature train that goes in an oval and a merry go round. The under 6 crowd would like these best. I’d love to see a larger ride around the park or where the kids can climb and play while you sit and have a snack. Speaking of snacks, there’s a very small snack stand with limited choices but the option to picnic is available. And since the park is small enough, you can even go to the car to have a quick lunch if you’d like.
Our favorite part of the park, though, was the animal show on the main stage. We arrived just in time to have 30 minutes to explore before the first show and actually stayed for 3 1/2 hours and watched the afternoon show as well. The shows had elements that overlapped but were different enough that we enjoyed both. And what a cute show it was! Running through the end of this month (June), the Awesome Animal Show really got the kids laughing with amazement. There were trained house cats! (let me just say, my cats wouldn’t know how to do ANY of that for sure!) and beautiful tropical birds. The 2nd show featured a donkey and pigs plus the birds. My daughter raised her hand to volunteer and had a great time on stage while we cheered her on. Trust me, the kids will be in love with this show! Throught the year, the shows will rotate and I’m sure the others are just as good. I’m familiar with Eric’s reptile adventure from my local library and he is a hoot! Reminds me of a mellower Chris Rock and brings with him a whole bunch of reptiles the kids (and you) will be screaming and shuddering at. We happened to go on a slow day but I know it can really fill up in there, so arrive at the show 10 minutes early to grab a seat. What’s nice is that it’s shaded, not only in the show area but throughout the park, with many benches and tables to take a break at. Not that there’s a lot of walking anyway.
The shows will rotate throughout the season. You can view a schedule here. We also checked out the alligator feeding. They have cougar and giraffe feeding times as well. Animal food is available for purchase to feed many of the animals. For an extra fee, they also offer pony rides.
Don’t miss bambiland if you like to bottle feed the deer and check out the nursery with those cute tiny goats.
All in all, Long Island Game Farm is a cute place and if you have kids under 10, it’s a nice spot to visit for a low-key but fun day out in nature where they actually get to see the animal up close not just from a monorail or in such a large field they can’t make out what’s inside the fence. There are quite a few different shows and events during the season so plan to visit more than once. I’d say the shows are the best part of the day.
They do birthday parties for the kids and have a popular summer camp now in it’s 9th year called Camp Zoo.
Looking for more places in Eastern Long Island and Suffolk County to spend a day at with the kids?
disclosure: Long Island Game Farm provided us with admission for this review for our TodaysMama readers. All opinions and images are strictly my own.