Although many Valley residents can peek into their backyards and catch a glimpse of native wildlife, local zoos offer families the chance to view exotic species and enjoy an educational day outdoors.
Trailside Museums and Zoo at Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain’s Trailside Zoo consists of a winding path which connects four museum buildings — dedicated to herpetology, geology, nature study, and history — and provides beautiful views of the river. Along the path, visitors meet local wildlife, such as beavers, otters, porcupines, and even a black bear. Reptiles, amphibians, and marine life are on display inside the herpetology museum.
Bear Mountain. 845-786-2701; www.trailsidezoo.org
Located at the Millbrook School, the zoo is open to the public and features more than 180 domestic animals and exotic creatures from around the world, including seven endangered species.
Millbrook. 845-677-3704; www.trevorzoo.org
The Catskill Animal Sanctuary
The CAS in Saugerties provides refuge for abused and neglected farm animals. The facility offers educational programs and tours of the site, where there are free-to-roam critters including pigs, cows, goats, horses, and geese. Visitors can become more involved by sponsoring an animal or learning to cook vegan meals with the sanctuary’s Compassionate Cuisine classes.
Saugerties. 845-336-8447; www.casanctuary.org