Wildlife preserves, forests, and State and National Parks have thousands of miles of hiking trails where a wildlife adventure awaits you this summer. View hundreds of species, from hummingbirds to bald eagles, river otters and red foxes - live and in vivid colors in their natural habitats, not in a zoo.
Wildlife is truly everywhere in our state, even New York City. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the northeastern US, with more than 330 bird species and rare native habitats, also viewed when you take a boat trips or sunset tour. Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve & Environmental Education Center is surrounded by suburban development yet teeming with many species of wildlife native to western New York such as deer, great blue herons, beavers and waterfowl.
Montezuma Wetlands Complex, one of the busiest bird migration routes on the Atlantic Flyway, has an Osprey Cam and is part of the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge , a 7,068-acre habitat. The Catskill Forest Preserve's impressive skyline of lofty peaks presents a multitude of hiking trails and places to see wildlife in action.
The Finger Lakes National Forest, our only national forest, has lots of open land and free-ranging cattle, plus habitats for a multitude of birds and native wildlife, including bobcats, beavers and wild turkeys. Buttermilk Falls State Park is a lovely place to camp and commune with wildlife, and Beaver Lake Nature Center sees 200+ bird species, over 800 plant varieties and yes, you can boat there too.
Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary offers easy trails to observe wildlife plus indoor stations to closely view birds, reptiles and amphibians. At Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, there’s a visitor center with exhibits and bird watching window plus bird and wildlife watching on over 450 acres. Allegany State Park offers day and nighttime wildlife wonders and camping too; migratory waterfowl and abundant wildlife call the nearly 11,000 acres of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge ‘home.’
Camp at Wellesley Island State Park in the 1000 Islands, and enjoy nature trails, fishing, seasonal butterfly house and a museum, among other natural delights.
Hiking trails through the old-growth forests surrounding two glacial lakes at Green Lakes State Park are a great place to see Canadian geese, foxes, minks, herons and other wildlife. Pfeiffer Nature Center has wildlife, hiking trails, historic log cabin and a small farm, and ongoing scientific research projects.
The endangered Frosted Elfin Butterfly lives at Rome Sand Plains Resource Management Area, one of only a few pine barrens in the US and a great destination for unique birds, butterflies, plants and wildlife. Speaking of butterflies and pine barrens, at Albany Pine Bush Preserve perhaps you’ll spy the endangered Karner blue! Bald Eagles are among the thrill-inspiring inhabitants of RamsHorn – Livingston Sanctuary, a large tidal marsh near the Hudson River.
Many of these gorgeous New York wildlife sites offer camping, boating and hiking too – enjoy!
NYS Dep. of Environmental Conservation: Animals, Plants, Aquatic Life
Nature & Outdoors
Nature Centers & Preserves
New York State Parks: Biodiversity
NY State & National Parks
Science & Animals