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 22 Jun
Sun Celebration at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, June 22, 2019 03:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

It’s time for fun in the sun! Drop in to learn about the summer solstice, create sun-themed crafts, make summery treats and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Thacher Nature Center. To celebrate the extra daylight, we’ll be open an hour later than usual and ending the day with s’mores around the bonfire! This family friendly event is free of charge! Call 518-872-0800 for more information. *ETTNC
Sun 23 Jun
Nature Photography Walk at Thacher Park
Sunday, June 23, 2019 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join award-winning photographer Hillary Raimo for breathtaking views of the escarpment on a nature photography walk. Learn how to take a unique picture, better your composition, and experiment with abstract nature techniques. All levels of experience and cameras/devices welcome. Class fee of $25 is payable to instructor. Space is limited and registration is required. Call 518-872-0800 to register.
Registration: Required
Sun 23 Jun
Explore a Bog at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, June 23, 2019 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

What is the nature of a bog? Who lives there? What kinds of plants exist in a bog? We will explore these questions and more. Smell the fragrance of sweet gale, see native orchids and iris in bloom, and search for carnivorous sundews. Learn how a pitcher plant “eats”. There is a lot to explore from the “shore” of our manmade bog. Call 518-872-0800 to register. *ETTNC
Registration: Required
Sat 29 Jun
The Multiple Helderberg Escarpments at Thacher Park
Saturday, June 29, 2019 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

At Thacher Park you see and hear about the” Helderberg Escarpment” and the Indian Ladder Trail cliffs. Actually, there are multiple escarpments in the park, where steep slopes rise between relative flat areas. Join geologist Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten and explore the topography and geology of the park, on and off trail. This hike, to the top of the park, will be moderately strenuous. Meet at the Visitor Center. Call 518-872-0800 to register. Park entrance fee is $6 per vehicle. *TVC
Registration: Required
Sat 29 Jun
Salamander Search at Thacher Park
Saturday, June 29, 2019 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

The streams of Thacher Park are excellent habitats to look for salamanders! Learn about stream ecology and how to handle stream life gently, then get your feet wet. We’ll look at water samples to find out about the variety of invertebrates that live in this cool forest stream habitat. This program is appropriate for ages 6 and up. Please call 518-872-0800 to register and for meeting place. Park entrance fee is $6 per vehicle.
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!