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 21 Jan
Woodland Snowshoe Walk in Thacher Park
Saturday, January 21, 2017 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Take a scenic trek on one of the most picturesque trails in the park. We'll walk 1.25 miles through woodlands, along frozen streams with waterfalls, and take in views of the large wetland south of Paint Mine. Bring your own snowshoes or rent them for $5/pair. Please call 872-0800 to register and reserve snowshoes.

Registration: Required
Sun 22 Jan
Exploring Hailes Cave at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, January 22, 2017 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Hailes Cave is the longest of known caves in Thacher Park. Historically popular for exploring, the cave has not been accessible for many years and is now gated to protect hibernating bats. Take a photographic tour of Hailes Cave with Thom Engel. Learn what the current mapping has revealed and about the potential for further exploration of the cave. Call 872-0800 for more information.

Sat 28 Jan
Snowshoe to High Point in Thacher Park
Saturday, January 28, 2017 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join a snowshoe walk to High Point on the Fred Schroeder Memorial Trail. The 3 mile loop includes a couple of moderately steep slopes. Bring a snack along for a break at the cliff view point. If there's no snow, we'll enjoy a winter hike. Snowshoes are available to rent and may be reserved in advance. We will meet at the Nature Center and carpool to the trailhead. Call 872-0800 to register, reserve snowshoes, and confirm conditions.

Sun 29 Jan
Evidence of Slavery in the Hudson Valley, at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, January 29, 2017 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Slavery has long been associated with the south, but recent discoveries in the Hudson Valley tell another story. Historical archaeologists at the New York State Museum have recently completed geophysical surveys and archaeological testing at Schuyler Flatts, the Nicoll-Sill House, and Van Schaick Mansion in Albany County. Dr. Michael Lucas will discuss ongoing research into these sites and the findings that give evidence of the practice of slavery. Call 872-0800 for more information.

Thu 02 Feb
Forest Pest Workshop at Thacher Nature Center
Thursday, February 2, 2017 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is an invasive forest pest from Asia that kills eastern hemlock trees. These beautiful evergreens are common in the forests of Thacher Park. This workshop, presented by DEC Division of Lands and Forests staff, is appropriate for forest owners, environmental educators, and others who want to learn how to identify HWA and assist with surveying and reporting observations. After the presentation, participants will go out in the field and learn how to identify signs of infestation on nearby hemlocks. Call 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!