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 20 May
Native Plant Sale at Thacher Park Overlook
Sunday, May 20, 2018 10:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

The sale theme is Beauty and Beyond, featuring plants with blossoms and beauty for all seasons. We are offering native perennials, shrubs and trees with beautiful flowers followed by berries, nuts, and seed pods to feed the birds, or fall color and foliage. Native plants can fill those difficult areas as well as bring gorgeous color throughout the year. Call 518-872-0800 for more information.

Sat 26 May
What is a Vernal Pond? at Thacher Park
Saturday, May 26, 2018 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Vernal ponds are ephemeral wetlands that fill with water from winter and spring rains, and usually dry out by the end of summer. We will explore a vernal pond that serves as an important breeding site for many obligate species, including the Yellow Spotted and Jefferson salamanders. Come try your hand at citizen science, and discover why vernal pools are known to be the coral reefs of the northeastern forest. Appropriate for ages 8 and older. Call 518-872-0800 to register and for meeting place. Park entrance fee is $6 per vehicle.

Registration: Required
Sun 27 May
Doggy Day Stroll in Thacher Park
Sunday, May 27, 2018 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join us with your furry friends for a leisurely stroll through the park. We will begin at Pear Orchard and walk along the Escarpment Trail. Learn about different techniques for keeping your dog safe and comfortable while they enjoy the outdoors. Proof of recent vaccinations and six-foot leash (maximum) is required. To register call 518-872-1237. Parking fee is $6 per vehicle.

Registration: Required
Sat 02 Jun
National Trails Day at Thacher Park
Saturday, June 2, 2018 09:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

If you love to use the great trails at Thacher Park, this is the time to show your appreciation. Come and help out with trail maintenance projects for the morning and stay for lunch, provided by the Friends of Thacher Park. Call 518-872-1237 to register.
Registration: Required
Sun 03 Jun
Birding with Rich Guthrie at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, June 3, 2018 08:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Spring is here and birdsong is in the air. This is the best time to see birds dressed in their finest plumage and singing to find their mates. We'll start at the Nature Center feeders and head out on the trails at 8:30am. Beginners are welcome and binoculars are available to borrow. 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!