Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

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The Indian Ladder Trail at Thacher State Park is closed until further notice.

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

Sun 18 Mar
Egg Painting Workshop at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, March 18, 2018 01:00 PM - 03:30 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Eggs have been painted and decorated for hundreds of years, and by many cultures. Join artist and teacher Linda Hall, and receive instruction on blowing and painting your own unique little ovate masterpiece. Participants can choose to paint a natural scene or a vibrant Mexican Fiesta egg. Workshop is appropriate for adults and children age 13 and up. All skills levels welcome! Program fee of $10 per person includes materials. Some of Linda's painted eggs will be available for purchase. Please call 518-872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required
Sun 25 Mar
‘Robins in Rain!’ Kids Art Workshop at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, March 25, 2018 01:30 PM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Kids will have fun painting joyful Robins in a spring rain! Learn how to paint with acrylic on canvas, and learn some fascinating facts about this beloved native bird species with artist and teacher Noreen Powell. Students will take home a memorable painting and have an enjoyable learning experience. Fee of $10 includes all materials. This program is appropriate for children ages 7-13 years old. Please call 518-872-0800 to register your child.


Registration: Required
Sat 31 Mar
Owl Pellet Investigation at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, March 31, 2018 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Come learn about some of nature's most amazing birds of prey – owls! We'll discuss the physical adaptations that help make owls exceptional hunters, as well as how and why owl pellets are formed. We'll conclude with an owl pellet dissection. Appropriate for ages 7 and up. Call 518-872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required
Wed 04 Apr
“Build a Nest Box” at Thacher Nature Center
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Invite beautiful Bluebirds or mosquito-eating Tree Swallows into your yard! Our kits are pre-cut and pre-drilled, all hardware included. You will learn how to correctly place and monitor your nest box. This program is open to adults and children of all ages. Materials fee is $8. Bring a cordless drill with a screw bit and join the fun! Each child registered must be accompanied by an adult. Call 872-0800 to register and reserve your kit.

Registration: Required
Sat 14 Apr
“Hiking and History of The Long Path” at Thacher Visitor Center
Saturday, April 14, 2018 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Find out everything you wanted to know about the Long Path....but were afraid to ask. Ken Posner, NY-NJ Trail Conference board member, will give a presentation about the Long Path, the 358-mile hiking trail that starts in NYC and ends in Thacher State Park. Hear about the history of the trail, the influence of Walt Whitman and John Burroughs, Ken's 2013 record-setting thru-run, and the volunteer community that supports the trails. Ken will lead a short hike on the Long Path after the presentation. Call 518-872-0800 for more information.

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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!