Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

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87 Nature Center Way
Voorheesville, NY 12186
Latitude 42.655132
Longitude -74.042389

The Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center opened in July 2001 and is located in Thompson's Lake Campground at Thacher State Park. The center offers year-round educational programs for school groups, youth organizations, clubs and the general public. Exhibits and displays include a geologic model of the Helderberg Escarpment, a live honeybee observation hive, bird viewing area, fossils, furs and other hands-on collections. Trails for hiking and skiing lead from the nature center to the lake, through woodlands and fields.

Learn more, watch WMHT's doccumentary: The Great Ledge 

Not allowed inside Nature Center.

Hours of Operation

  • Nature Center is open year-round, 9 am to 5 pm
    Closed on Mondays and holidays.

Program Descriptions

Experience Thacher Nature Center (year round):

This is a great program for first time visitors of all ages! Our hands on exhibits include lie turtles, honeybee observation hive, animal furs and skulls, bird observation window with binoculars, microscope, fossils and more! Students will explore the Nature Center through a written find and seek activiity. This program includes a nature walk through gfiled and forest habitats.

Busy Bees (May-October):

Learn about the lifecycle of the honeybee, and the important role they play in the antural world. Observe a real beehive to see the queen, drones and workers as they busily do their jobs. Try on beekeeping equipment to learn how beekeepers tend to their hives.

Geology of the Indian Ladder Trail (May-October):

New York was underwater 400 million years ago. See and learn about fossils, limestone, and the process that created the Helderberg Escarpment. Follow the trail down the cliff, under waterfalls and over underground streams. Suitable for elementary through high school earth science studies. Can be combined with a visit to the Nature Center.

Getting to Know Birds (year round):

Birds are everywhere, from the forest to an urban street! Learn the habits of some of the birds that frequent our feeders, or your schoolyard. Topics could include beginning birding techniques, bird adaptations, bird songs and more.

Seasons and Senses (year round):

This program is ideal for preschoolers and grades K-1. Children use their senses to explore the natural world and learn about the current season. Program includes sensory activities, exploration of the Nature Center and a nature walk.

Lifecycle of a Tree (year round)

The forest ecosystem is a community that depends on trees. Learn about the lifecycle of a tree, from seed to rotted log. Activities may include: build-your-own living tree, play habitat hotel, or get to know the trees in our forest or your schoolyard using identification keys,

Animals in Winter (winter only):

Winter can be a harsh season for wildlife, but animals have many different ways of surviving the cold months. Find out who remains active, who hibernates, and who skips town! Learn to look for evidence of animal life in thet racks and other signs they leave behind. If conditions are good, we'll strap on snowshoes and take an exciting invigorating walk on the Nature Center's trails or in your schoolyard.


To schedule a field trip or outreach program in your classroom, please call 518-872-0800 or email Megan Mansfield at

Sat 01 Oct
Fossil Fun for Families! At Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, October 1, 2016 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

The rocks in Thacher Park are full of fossils that are almost 400 million years old! We'll discuss the local geology, examine fossil samples, and talk about how these fossils formed. Participants will make a fossil craft that they can bring home. This program is appropriate for children ages 7 and up. Call 518-872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required
Sun 02 Oct
Guided Long Path Hike
Sunday, October 2, 2016 09:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

The Long Path is a 358 mile long blazed trail that starts in New York City and ends in Thacher Park. Enjoy scenic views of the escarpment and fall foliage as we hike the portion of the Long Path within Thacher Park south. Learn about wetlands, the formation of the landscape, and the geologic history of the area. This hike is about 4 miles long. Please wear sturdy footwear, bring water and a snack, and meet at the Pear Orchard Picnic area. Call 518-872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required
Sat 08 Oct
Fall Foliage Walk
Saturday, October 8, 2016 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Enjoy the evergreens and golds of autumn on this forest stroll. We'll take a leisurely 2-mile walk along the Blue Trail in the southern part of Thacher Park. The trail is mostly flat with two short and steep inclines. Meet at Beaver Dam Road. Please call 518-872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required
Sat 15 Oct
Moonlight Escarpment Walk
Saturday, October 15, 2016 06:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Enjoy a unique view of Thacher Park after hours on a moonlight walk along the Escarpment Trail. Learn about moon astronomy and witness sunset and moonrise at about the same time. Meet at the Park Office. Please call 518-872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required
Sat 22 Oct
Tropical Times at Thacher Park Geology Walk
Saturday, October 22, 2016 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Thacher Park today is a land of temperate zone forests. Looking at the rocks and their fossils, however, we see a very different history. We find it was a land of tropical seas, often full of life, from tide flats to waters several hundred feet deep. Time-travel to geologically ancient Thacher Park on a walk with geologist Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten. Dress for walking both on and off trail. Call 518-872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required

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Did You Know? We're #1! Our nature center made the top 20 list of places to take kids in the Capital District!