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 

Fri 07 Oct
Full Moon Hike
Friday, October 7, 2022 06:15 PM - 08:15 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Starting at the Carrick Road trailhead, we'll walk three miles round-trip to Hang Glider Point. Trails traverse moderate terrain, with some uneven and inclined sections. Participants are encouraged to bring their own light sources. At Carrick Road Trailhead, Ages 16+, Registration is required. Call 518.872.0800 to register.
Sat 08 Oct
Caves and Karst
Saturday, October 8, 2022 09:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Starting with the karst display in the Visitor Center, participants will come to understand the development of Thacher Park's unique landscape. We will caravan to two additional areas in the park to observe their unique geology.  Ages 16 and up, No registration required.
Sat 08 Oct
Kalkberg Fossil Hunting
Saturday, October 8, 2022 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Join us as we learn about the ancient marine wildlife that used to call Albany County home, and search for their fossils on the Escarpment Trail and in Minelot Creek. Note that fossils may not be removed from the park. All ages, No registration required.
Sun 09 Oct
Fall Foliage Walks
Sunday, October 9, 2022 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Join Nature Center educators to explore trails in a different section of the park each week while we learn about tree identification and local ecology. Hikes will range from one to three miles, and may involve uneven surfaces and small inclines.All ages, No registration required.
Sat 15 Oct
A Walk Through the Paleozoic
Saturday, October 15, 2022 09:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
On this one-mile walk, participants will be introduced to the rock layers of the Indian Ladder Trail and the fossils found within them. We will return to the Visitor Center along the top of the escarpment which offers spectacular views of the valley and mountains north and east. This trail requires going up and down multiple flights of stairs.  All ages, No 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!