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.

Please note fishing is prohibited at the Emma Treadwell Nature Center

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

Incredible Insects (April-September)
Butterflies, bees, and all kinds of bugs are an important part of nature. Discover what makes them special, and what you can do to support biodiversity in your backyard. Then, take to the fields and forest to see how many insects you can find.

Awesome Aquatics (April-September)
Discover the different parts of a habitat, and what animals need to thrive. Then, borrow nets and see how many lake creatures you can catch! Dress for wading.

Indian Ladder Trail Tour (June-October)
Descend through the entrance of the Indian Ladder Trail to view the amazing rock formations, and the forces that shaped them. This one mile hike offers spectacular views of the valley and mountains north and east.

Hibernation Investigation (November-March)
Explore mammal skulls and skins to learn about the many adaptations that help them survive in their habitat. Then, take to the trails to search for signs of wildlife. The hike will be lead on snowshoes, weather permitting.

Snowshoeing (January-March)
We'll strap on snowshoes and take an invigorating walk on the trails or in your schoolyard. Learn to look for evidence of animal life while you take in the quiet beauty of winter. Warm, waterproof footwear, and snowpants recommended.

Animal Superpowers (All Year)
Meet some of our animal ambassadors and discover the adaptations that help them thrive in their habitat. Then, take a hike to search for some of the amazing plants and animals that call the park home.

Fun With Fossils (All Year)
400 million years ago, New York was submerged under a tropical sea! Explore the geological history of the park, and examine fossils of ancient sea creatures.

The Connect-Kids-to-Parks Grant Program is designed to connect students in New York State with nature and history. Each grant can provide reimbursement for field trips to state and federal parks, forests, historic sites, fish hatcheries, and outdoor recreation areas for districts with at least one Title 1 school.

Additional programs can be designed to meet your group's specific interests. To schedule a field trip or outreach program in your classroom, please call 518-872-0800 or email

Sat 18 May
Native Plant Sale
Saturday, May 18, 2024 10:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Meet at the Thacher Overlook SATURDAY ONLY. 

Native perennials, shrubs, and trees with beautiful flowers are for sale! Native plants can fill difficult areas and bring gorgeous color throughout the year. Knowledgeable staff will be on hand to assist and answer questions
Sat 18 May
Overlooking the Geology
Saturday, May 18, 2024 01:30 PM - 02:30 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Weather permitting, meet at the Thacher Park Overlook, where on a clear day at least four different landscape regions are visible. Learn how and when they formed and about the many different rock types of which they are made. No registration required.
Fri 24 May
Drop-in Play Time
Friday, May 24, 2024 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Meet at the Nature Center. 

For children ages 0-5 and their caregivers. The nature center offers many self-guided opportunities for little hands to explore! Dig for fossils in the kinetic sand table, build a beaver dam in the stream table, or roast a pretend marshmallow on the plush campfire with some new friends. We are open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00am-4:00pm. 
Sat 25 May
Caves & Karst
Saturday, May 25, 2024 09:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Meet at the Visitor Center Participants will come to understand the development of Thacher Park's unique landscapes and the terms associated with them. We will observe the limestone layers and the resurging underground streams, and visit the active sinkhole and other unique areas. Each participant is expected to follow the group leader in their own vehicle as we caravan to the different sites. No registration required.
Sat 01 Jun
Birds of Prey
Saturday, June 1, 2024 12:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Stop by the Visitor Center where wildlife rehabilitator Kelly Martin will introduce you to live hawks, owls, and falcons. Binoculars will be available for visitors to borrow. 

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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!