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 24 Aug
Life Under a Rotting Log at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, August 24, 2019 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join us for a Summer of Science program! If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around, what sorts of critters will you find beneath it? Logs can be food and shelter for a host of interesting creatures! Come learn about how a lowly log can become a bustling ecosystem. We’ll read the story “A Log’s Life” and then head outside to explore the underside of some logs ourselves. Forest explorers should wear long pants and closed toed shoes, please. Appropriate for ages 4-8. Call 518-872-0800 to register. *ETTNC
Registration: Required
Sat 24 Aug
Campfire Storytelling at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, August 24, 2019 06:30 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Stories shared around a fire was the original ‘streaming’ entertainment! Join our favorite storyteller Claire Nolan as she shares a variety of folktales, fairytales and family stories that are sure to delight young and old! Bring a camp chair or blanket if you like. S’mores supplies will be available. Materials fee is $1 per person. Please call 518-872-0800 for more information. *ETTNC
Sat 31 Aug
Wildlife Presentation at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, August 31, 2019 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Meet some wild neighbors up close and personal and learn about where and how they live. Wildlife rehabilitator Kelly Martin will introduce some of the birds of prey and other animals in her care. Learn what to do if you find an abandoned or injured animal and how to help prevent wildlife emergencies. Please bring a donation to support Kelly’s work. Call 518-872-0800 for more information. *ETTNC
Sat 07 Sep
Hawk Migration Watch at Thacher Park Overlook
Saturday, September 7, 2019 10:00 AM - 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Thacher Park Overlook is a great place to watch for hawks flying south during their fall migration. Hawk Watch leader Will Aubrey will be on hand to answer questions, provide background material, compile statistics, and assist with hawk identification. Come see live raptors and learn about wildlife rehabilitation with Richele Ford. Refreshments will be available at the Overlook concession stand. On Sunday, September 8, raptor viewing and counting continues with Will Aubrey. Call 518-872-0800 for additional information.
Sat 07 Sep
Get Together Day
Saturday, September 7, 2019 10:00 AM - 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Bring your family and friends – and a picnic lunch, games and/or sporting equipment. All are invited to this inclusive day of fun with accessible activities for people with and without disabilities.

John Boyd Thacher State Park, 830 Thacher Park Road, Voorheesville. Meet at the Visitor Center for tours and activities. A hawk watch and Birds of Prey program will be held from 10-2 p.m. in the Upper Overlook area.

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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!