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

Wed 24 Apr
Build a Nest Box at Thacher Nature Center
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Invite beautiful Bluebirds or mosquito-eating Tree Swallows into your yard! Our kits are pre-cut and pre-drilled, all hardware included. You will learn how to correctly place and monitor your nest box. This program is open to adults and children of all ages. Materials fee is $8. Bring a cordless drill with a screw bit and join the fun! Each child registered must be accompanied by an adult. Call 518-872-0800 to register and reserve your kit.
Registration: Required
Fri 26 Apr
Spotlight on the Spotted Salamander at Thacher Nature Center
Friday, April 26, 2019 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Why did the Spotted Salamander cross the road? Learn more about Thacher Park’s unofficial mascot with an up-close and personal encounter and take a hike to check out a vernal pool. Appropriate for adults and children ages 6 and up. Call 518-872-0800 to register.
Registration: Required
Sat 27 Apr
Early Spring Wildflowers at Thacher Park
Saturday, April 27, 2019 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Woodland wildflowers known as spring ephemerals bloom on the forest floor before the trees leaf out and block the sun. The season is short and the blooms of some delicate flowers can disappear in days. We’ll look for early bloomers like hepatica, coltsfoot, trout lily, spring beauties, and bloodroot. Meet at the Paint Mine picnic area. Call 518-872-0800 to register.
Registration: Required
Sun 28 Apr
Nest Box Monitoring Workshop at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, April 28, 2019 11:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

This training will teach you to identify the birds using the birdhouse or nest in your yard and how to monitor the progress of the nestlings. Learn how to obtain and record data and how to keep your baby birds safe from harm. We will go outside to try out your new skills and conduct nest box checks in our fields. Appropriate for adults and children ages 9 & up. Call 518-872-0800 to register for this free program
Registration: Required
Sat 04 May
I Love My Park Day at Thacher Park
Saturday, May 4, 2019 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join in the statewide volunteer effort to show some love for your favorite park – Thacher Park, of course! There are a variety of projects for different interests and abilities, so bring a friend or family member along. Meet at the Pear Orchard picnic area near the Visitor Center. The event is sponsored by Parks and Trails New York and the Friends of Thacher Park. The Friends will provide a complimentary bbq lunch for all volunteers. Please register online at For more information contact the park at 518-872-1237.
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!