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

Sat 23 Sep
Hawks, Vultures, and Falcons- Oh My
Saturday, September 23, 2017 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Learn about some of the fantastic raptors that migrate through Thacher Park on their way south each fall. After an introduction at Thacher Visitor Center, we will head to the Overlook for a chance to see migrating hawks, vultures, and possibly peregrine falcons! Bring binoculars and a bird book if you have them. Call 518-872-0800 for more information. Parking fee is $6 per vehicle.

Sat 30 Sep
Fall Festival
Saturday, September 30, 2017 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join us for a day of family fun and festivities including hayrides, live birds of prey, face painting, archery, old fashioned games, children's crafts, local artisans selling quality handcrafted items, farm fresh veggies and flowers, live music by the Knox Traditional Strings, Oobleck, and Night Train, food vendors 4 Corners Luncheonette and Dolan's Dogs. Take a picture with Helderberg Hildie and her friends. Entrance fee is $6 per car. Call 518-872-0800 for more information.

Fri 06 Oct
Moonlight Walk at Thacher Nature Center
Friday, October 6, 2017 07:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join us as we walk the Nature Center trails and enjoy the crisp air of a fall evening. We'll watch for bats and listen for owls and coyotes as darkness falls. Call 518-872-0800 to register.

Sat 07 Oct
Hike the Long Path
Saturday, October 7, 2017 09:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Take a through hike on the Long Path in Thacher Park, from Beaver Dam Road to Old Stage Road. We will follow the Escarpment Trail for a while and make a stop at the Visitor Center. Later we take a side trip to Hang Glider Cliff and also stop at High Point Cliff. A varied hike through woodlands and open spaces. Moderate pace. Total distance is 8 miles. Mostly level terrain, with a few ups and downs. Bring appropriate clothing for autumn weather, good trail boots, trail lunch, and rain gear if appropriate. Joint hike with Albany ADK. Meet at 9am at the Nature Center. Contact leaders Jim & Bonnie Schaller at 518-861-7452, or email  

Sat 14 Oct
Fall Foliage Walk
Saturday, October 14, 2017 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Autumn colors bathe the escarpment during this peak time for leaf peeping. Walk along the Escarpment Trail and marvel at the beautiful colors of fall as we peer out over the cliffs. Along the way learn how to identify some of New York's native trees, such as maple, beech, birch, and pine. Meet at the Pear Orchard picnic area. Please call 518-872-0800 to register.

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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!