HAUPPAUGE, NY - (October 10, 2008)- Because it’s located so close to New York City most people don’t realize there’s an abundance of wild life to experience on Long Island, including a designated “Bat Conservation Site” and a “Shark Dive” opportunity.  

Or visit a major bird estuary site off Long Island’s south shore at Fire Island. Other wild fun can be had at Long Island’s game farms, ecology centers, or nature centers.

  

Bat fans from all over visit Long Island’s Connetquot River State Park in Oakdale for its Bat Safari guided tour programs. Start out with an informative presentation about bats and then venture out for a hike through the forest to see the bats. Learn how one little brown bat can eat 1,200 pesky mosquito-sized bugs in an hour, and how these valuable creatures are one of earth’s most vulnerable due to their low rate of reproduction. Along with bats, visitors can look up and see amazing nesting birds including osprey.

  

Or get close with the wildest creatures of the sea on a “Shark Dive” at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead. “Shark Dive” is an experience that puts you face-to-face with the ocean’s top predators inside a 120,000-gallon Lost City of Atlantis Shark Exhibit. No diving certification is necessary, and a trained dive master accompanies all participants (must be 12 or older; ages 12-17 must be accompanied by parent/guardian). Shark Dive participants are provided with everything necessary for their dive, including wetsuit, scuba gear, and an underwater mask that allows normal breathing and underwater communications.

  

Or if you’re wild about birds, Fire Island is a national park and estuary with one of the most productive habitats on earth. Over 1/3 of all species of birds found in North America find refuge in the nests of Fire Island, located on the Atlantic migratory flyway. With over 26 miles of unspoiled beaches, dunes, and nature, walk along miles of boardwalk and trails to rustic campgrounds, life guarded beaches, and programs to learn about Fire Island’s environment. Easy access via several ferry points.

  

You don’t have to go into the African jungle to see exotic animals. Right in Manorville the Long Island Game Farm Wildlife Park and Children’s Zoo is the largest combined  zoo and wildlife park on Long Island. Unique animal’s native and non-native to the island can be seen including alligators, monkeys, kinkajous, lemurs, zebras, a giraffe, and many others. Unlike most zoos where animals are seen from afar, the Game Farm offers a much closer view of some wild creatures.  The newest show, Tigerpalooza, features rare tigers from around the world. Visitors are educated about the conservation of these feline creatures. Between shows, guests can get within four feet of a pair of yearling male lions.

  

The Town of Brookhaven Ecology Site, Park & Animal Preserve is located on an unlikely place, a reclaimed landfill. In 1974 the landfill closed and the Town has been re-vegetating the area since. It is a preserve and ecology center, featuring animals such as eagles, owls, and bears. There are 100 injured or non-releasable animals for viewing. It also has a petting zoo.

   

For admirers of butterflies, the Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown along the Nissequogue River is 54 acres of beauty. It features a Butterfly and Moth Vivarium with  over 20 species of native North American butterflies which guests can identify with the “Who’s flying” identification cards scattered throughout. There is an emergence cage with various stages of pupa that will eventually turn into full fledged butterflies. All of the butterflies are bred on site. With the main focus on education, there are volunteers and staff to help answer any visitor questions about the butterflies. The Butterfly House has over 250 butterflies from June-October and is maintained by volunteers.

   

Get well acquainted with fish at the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium, founded in 1883 by New York State and turned into a non profit organization in 1982, evolving from a trout rearing facility into an Environmental Education Center. The hatchery houses the largest collection of New York State fresh water fish. There are regulated temperature hatch houses with trout in their various stages of life. The warm water pond has varied species from carp, catfish, to eels and others along with a turtle pond. There is a Catch & Keep trout fishing program during the summer where patrons can bring or rent fishing equipment to catch fish and keep them.

   

Wild Fun. Another Reason I Love NY.

  

The Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sports Commission (LICVB&SC) was established in 1979 as the official tourism promotion agency for the destination’s travel and tourism industry. Based on Long Island in Hauppauge, NY, the LICVB&SC contributes to the economic development and quality of life on Long Island by promoting the region as a world-class destination for tourism, meetings and conventions, trade shows, sporting events, and related activities. For more information about Long Island, please contact the Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sports Commission by calling 1-877-586-6654 or visit www.discoverlongisland.com.

  
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Press Contact: Kristen Matejka 
Director of Marketing and Communications 
Long Island
CVB & Sports Commission 
330 Motor Pkwy. Ste. 203
Hauppauge, NY 11788 Ph 631 951 3900 x.317 Fx 631 951-3439
Email:KMatejka@discoverlongisland.com
www.discoverlongisland.com