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 19 Jan
Ice Fishing Clinic at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, January 19, 2019 09:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Learn all about ice fishing at a free clinic co-hosted by NYS DEC, Albany County Conservation Alliance, and NYS Parks. DEC will supply some bait and tackle, but experienced anglers are encouraged to bring their own fishing gear. After a short lesson on the basics of ice fishing and filleting your catch, anglers will try their luck on the ice. Volunteers will be on hand throughout the day to assist participants on the ice. A warming area and refreshments will be available. Call 518-872-0800 for more information. Rain date is Saturday, January 26.

Sun 27 Jan
People of the Waters that are Never Still at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, January 27, 2019 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Archaeologist Charlie Burgess will discuss the history of the Mohican Nation: their origin story, the archaeological record, and their history since Dutch colonization, with special reference to the Helderbergs. Please call 518-872-0800 for more information.
Sat 02 Feb
Ice Fishing Contest at Thompson’s Lake
Saturday, February 2, 2019 06:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

The ice conditions are looking good and we hope it will stay thick and safe for our Ice Fishing Contest at Thompson’s Lake Campground. Cash prizes will be awarded for winners, with 3 categories of fish. (The more folks registered, the bigger the cash prizes!). Live bait will be available to purchase onsite. Registration begins at 5:30am, fishing begins at 6am and ends at 1pm. Registration fee is $10 per person, free for kids under 12 years old. Call 518-872-1237 for more information.
Registration: Required
Sat 02 Feb
Out on a Limb: The Ecology of Arboreal Animals at Thacher Nature
Saturday, February 2, 2019 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Tree dwelling animals must be able to collect food, evade predators, migrate to new habitats, and attract mates, all while navigating a complex three-dimensional world up in the trees. Biologist Dr. Greg Byrnes will describe how animals cope with the challenges of arboreal life with examples from a variety of organisms including squirrels, gliding mammals, and snakes. Call 518-872-0800 for more information.
Sun 03 Feb
Snowshoe Walk at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, February 3, 2019 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join us on a winter walk through woods and fields on Nature Center trails. We’ll explore a variety of habitats and look for signs of wildlife. Bring your snowshoes or rent a pair of ours. If we don’t have snow, we’ll take a winter walk. Call 872-0800 to register, reserve snowshoes, and check conditions.
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!