Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Taconic Outdoor Education Center

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Taconic Outdoor Education Center
75 Mountain Laurel Lane
Cold Spring, NY 10516
Latitude 41.422634
Longitude -73.879044

The Taconic Outdoor Education Center (TOEC) supports a variety of year-round day and overnight educational, team building and business programs:                                 

  • Environmental Education
  • Conservation Camps
  • Team Building Rope Course
  • Scout Badge Programs
  • Outdoor Family Nature Events
  • Maple Sugaring
  • Business meetings
  • Field Trip Activities

TOEC welcomes all visitors, including colleges, elementary to high schools, scout troops, youth groups and clubs. Highland Lodge, with a wood-burning stone fireplace, colorful nature displays, comfortable woodland cabins, friendly service, excellent meals and knowledgeable educators is a perfect fit for these activities. Some visitors stay overnight, while others visit for a day. Center staff also visit schools and provide lessons in classrooms.

After the first snowfall, our full-service cross country ski and snowshoe programs swing into operation at Fahnestock Winter Park. At the Center in late winter, our Hudson Valley Maple Farm starts producing syrup from the Sugar Maple grove.

Through the year, public programs celebrate the seasons. These include the annual Cross Country Ski Swap Sale in November, Winterfest in January, Sap to Syrup in March, and Mountain Laurel Outdoor Rec Fest in May. TOEC is located an hour and half north of New York City by car or Metro North to nearby Cold Spring.

Watch the newly released Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park and Hudson Highlands State Parks video, produced for Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands by Anthony Sherin and narrated by Jane Alexander.

Take the virtual tour!

Don't miss these popular attractions within TOEC:

  • Highland Lodge - A large stone fireplace, excellent meals, comfortable dining and rustic lounge provide a comfortable space for programs. Wifi is available.
  • Interactive Exhibits - Colorful displays help visitors learn about Fahnestock State Park's natural and historical resources.
  • Accommodations - Comfortable cabins are heated for all-season use and have an accessible bathroom with shower. 
  • Nature Shop - We offer unique educational merchandise reflective of our programs.
  • Blueberry High/Low Adventure Ropes Course - Activity fosters group team building, problem solving and cooperation.
  • The Lakefront - Duck Pond offers opportunities for aquatic ecology, fishing, canoeing and ice skating.
  • Maple Leaf Sugar Grove - Surrounded by stone walls, this grove of Sugar Maples are tapped each year to collect sap for maple syrup production.
  • Sweet Tree Sugar Shack - Visit during the Sugaring season and see how sap in boiled down to make syrup. 

Sorry, no pets

Hours of Operation

  • Open year round, by reservation.
  • Winter Park: 12/7-3/18. Weekdays: 10 am - 4:30 pm; Weekends: 9 am - 4:30 pm. Weather permitting.

    Gate closes at 5pm. Ski rentals, tube rentals, snowshoes rentals, baby sled rentals and ski lessons available.
  • Food service: Year-round, on-site.

Fees & Rates

  • Cabins
  • $20/person/day
    Meals: $28-$36/person/day
  • Facility Rates
  • For a complete list, please see 2016-17 Facility Rates.
  • Lodge Rental
  • Highland: $140/hr
    Hubbard Lodge: $130/hr
  • Programs
  • Environmental Education, Scout Badge, Team building, Maple Sugaring & Outdoor Recreation - Call for details

Lesson Themes

Different lessons are offered to assist teachers in designing a field trip program that enriches classroom study. The lessons emphasize hands on activities in an outdoor setting and will be adapted to the season and weather conditions.



Aquatic Ecology & Watersheds (Sept-Oct, May-June):

Discover a fresh water pond by collecting, observing and identifying aquatic life from the shore or a study raft. Topic may include watersheds, the water cycle, water quality testing, and aquatic insects.


Observe birds that reside at TOEC and explore their habitats. Topics may include identification, bird songs, migration, binocular use, field guides, data collection through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Project Feeder Watch. 

Educator's Choice:

Let each of our Educators choose a lesson to teach. They will pick a favorite lesson, a seasonal lesson or a combination of several lessons.

Energy Flow:

Discover cycles in tha natural world and how energy flows through them. Topics may include, water, carbon and nutrient cycles, trophic levels, food webs and the interrelationships between their components.

Forest Ecology:

Explore TOEC's forested ecosystem. Topics may include tree identification, sucession, sustainable forestry practices, and the interrelationships between its inhabitants.


Learn about mammals that are commonly found at TOEC. Topics may include identification through examination of animal skins and skulls, adaptaions for survival, interrelationships, tracks and signs of wildlife.

Night Walk:

A "sensory" nocturnal walk. The activities engage the five senses. Other topics may include nocturnal animal adaptations, stars and constellations.

Soil Ecology (April-December)

Study the processes that produce soil and the life that lives within it. Topics can include the layers of soil erosion, the nutrient cycle, decomposers, and adaptations of life underground.



Maple Sugaring (Feb-March)

Learn the history behind making maple syrup, from tree to sap to syrup. Topics include tree identification, tapping a tree, collecting sap, boiling sap into syrup and sampling the product.

Outdoor Skills:

Topics may include basic needs for survival, fire building, shelter building, map and compass, low impact camping skills, and how to avoid a wilderness emergency situation.

Environmental Issues:

Investigate how humans impact our environment. Topics may include renewable and non-renewable resources, fossil fuels, pollution, invasive species, and endangered species.

Nature Arts:

Learning to observe and record the natural world through a variety of artistic techniques, such as sketching, sculpting, and writing.


Learning to observe, record, and interpret the natural world through journaling. Topic may include phenology, stories, and poetry.



Project Adventure-Low Ropes:

Activities on a low ropes course that use the aspect of challenge to encourage groups to strengthen problem solving, communication and cooperation skills.

High Ropes (High School and up):

A high (30 feet into the forest canopy) challenge course that encourages individual participation, expanding personal comfort zones, and supporting others.

Cooperative New Games:

Field activities dedicated to fun, energizing field games and get to know your activities.

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Did You Know? Owls’ eyes are so big that they are fixed in the skull and cannot move from side to side.

Amenities, Activities & Information

  • Amenities
  • Cabins
  • Educational Services (Accessible)
  • Food
  • Gift Shop (Accessible)
  • Group Camping
  • Interpretive Signs
  • Museum/Visitors Center (Accessible)
  • Nature Trails
  • Picnic Tables
  • Self Guided Tours
    • Activities
    • Audio-Visual Programs (Accessible) * Wifi available in lodge
    • Demonstrations (Accessible)
    • Fishing
    • Group Tours
    • Guided Tours
    • Hiking
    • Picnic Area (Accessible)
    • Recreation Programs
    • Snowshoeing Trails
    • X-Country Skiing