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 documentary: The Great Ledge 

Pet Policy:  A maximum of two pets are allowed in campsites and day use areas unless prohibited by sign or directive. Pets are to be supervised at all times and either be crated or on a leash not more than 6-feet in length. Proof of rabies inoculation shall be produced if requested by staff. Pets are not permitted in playgrounds, buildings, golf courses, boardwalks, pools and spray-grounds or guarded beaches (this does not apply to service animals).

Hours of Operation

  • Nature Center is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00am - 4:00pm
    Snowshoe rentals by appointment only

Fees & Rates

  • Snowshoe Rentals
  • $10.00 all day

    $5.00 four hours or less

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 

Sat 02 Jul
A Walk Through the Paleozoic
Saturday, July 2, 2022 09:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Starting at the Visitor Center, participants will be introduced to the rock layers of the Indian Ladder Trail and the fossils found within them. We will descend through the entrance to the Indian Ladder Trail to follow the base of the escarpment and observe the various Devonian Period rock layers and the effects of weathering and erosion that have formed the escarpment. We will return to the Visitor Center along the top of the escarpment that offers spectacular views of the valley and mountains north and east. Best Suited For: All Ages.
Sat 02 Jul
America’s National Symbol, the Bald Eagle
Saturday, July 2, 2022 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
This July 4th weekend, join Nature Center educators for a walk to see our eagles' nest, learn about the history of bald eagles in America, and hopefully get a glimpse of the young fledglings. Located at Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center. Best Suited For: All Ages
Sat 02 Jul
Get to Know Thacher Park!
Saturday, July 2, 2022 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Join educators for a guided walk in the park! These walks will provide a great introduction to the trails and ecology of Thacher Park. Best Suited For: All Ages
Sun 03 Jul
Indian Ladder Trail Guided Hike
Sunday, July 3, 2022 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
The protruding face and impressive size of the Helderberg Escarpment have captured the human imagination for centuries. Learn about the geological processes that shaped this striking rock slope, and the ways that these rocks in turn shaped local history. Tour begins at the Indian Ladder Trailhead nearest the Visitor Center and continues one-mile round-trip. The trail includes stairs, uneven surfaces, and low rock overhangs that require crouching to pass. Best Suited for: All ages.
Thu 07 Jul
Beginner Kayaking
Thursday, July 7, 2022 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Learn how to use a kayak on Thompson's Lake with certified instructors! We will learn a few skills and take a nice paddle around Thompson's Lake to see some unique sights from beaver lodges to eagles. Maximum of 5 registered participants. Call 518-872-0800 to register. Located at Thompson's Lake Campground. Best Suited For: Ages 10 and up.

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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!