By Cayla Rosenhagen
Since 1970, the Long Island Game Farm Wildlife Park and Children’s Zoo in Manorville has been a premier location for families and people of all ages to visit and learn about all the feathered, furred, and scaled creatures with whom we share the Earth. It’s an ideal spot to foster environmental awareness, appreciation, and respect.
I hadn’t visited the Game Farm since I was very young, so returning here was extremely nostalgic for me. The moment I entered the gates and stepped onto the boardwalk surrounded by rich green forest, memories all started coming back to me. I was greeted by a friendly parrot and soon made my way to the first interactive exhibit — Bambiland. I was in utter awe spending time with the friendly, young Fallow Deer. They pranced around happily in their paddock and eagerly approached visitors, seeking food and attention.
In a similar fashion to the deer enclosure, the goat nursery also allows guests to step into the world of these curious creatures. It’s the perfect place for human kids to encounter goat kids. I felt nothing but sheer delight playing with and bottle-feeding the affectionate babies. I certainly had a difficult time leaving the goat pen, but I was prompted by my excitement to visit with all the other animals on the farm.
Throughout the day, I learned about and met all kinds of animals, from African Spurred Tortoises and Grant’s Zebras to peafowl and wallabies. There were also alpacas, llamas, bison, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, and more.
The kind and welcoming staff members’ immense wealth of knowledge about the animals, as well as the abundance of informational signage all around the park greatly contributed to my experience and generated quite a few “wow!” moments.
Additionally, I was fortunate to see Bobo, the almost-two-year-old reticulated giraffe majestically grazing and interacting with zookeepers. The gentle giant recently returned to the Game Farm from an extended vacation in the South, where the warmer winter weather is more tolerable to him. You can visit him all summer long, until he heads back down south again in October.
Although I only saw Bobo from just outside his enclosure, guests do have the opportunity to get closer and even feed him with the V.I.P. Animal Tour. This all-inclusive package also encompasses wallaby, emu, zebra, and ring-tailed lemur encounters, and bottle-feeding opportunities at the nursery. There are also several individual encounters experiences, such as those with the zebras and camels, and children’s pony rides, some for additional fees.
Aside from the remarkable array of creatures to meet, the Game Farm offers amenities such as their snack bar with kid-friendly menu items, gift shop, picnic grounds, and playground areas.
The Long Island Game Farm is located at 489 Chapman Blvd. in Manorville. Weather permitting, you can visit the Game Farm any day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through September. General admission tickets cost $24.95 for adults (ages 13-61), $21.95 for seniors (age 62 and older), $18.95 for kids (ages 3-12) and toddlers and babies two and under are free! For more information, please call 631-878-6644 or visit www.longislandgamefarm.com.
Author Cayla Rosenhagen is a local high school student who enjoys capturing the unique charm of the community through photography and journalism. She serves on the board of directors for the Four Harbors Audubon Society and Brookhaven’s Youth Board, is the founder and coordinator of Beach Bucket Brigade, a community outreach program dedicated to environmental awareness, engagement, and education, and pens a column for TBR News Media titled Cayla’s Column.
*This article originally appeared in TBR News Media’s 2022 Summer Times Supplement.