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 Nov
Scandinavian Christmas Ornaments at the Nature Center
Saturday, November 24, 2018 10:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Come to the Nature Center to enjoy making traditional Scandinavian Christmas ornaments with one of our local artisans! Basket weaver and artist Karin Kuck will show you how to make woven Norwegian reindeer ornaments and Finnish Christmas stars - you'll be very impressed with your final product! The fee of $35 covers all materials and hands on instruction. Appropriate for adults and children age 13 and older. Space is limited, so please reserve now by calling 518-872-0800.
Registration: Required
Sat 01 Dec
Holiday Bazaar at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, December 1, 2018 11:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Shop for unique hand-crafted gifts made by local artisans and crafters, including jewelry, wooden wares, fleece and woolen items, pine needle baskets, honey and maple products, wildlife photography, delicious cheese spreads, artisan baked goods, and much more. Find nature books, wooden toys, and stocking stuffers in our gift shop, too. Enjoy live music that’ll put you in the holiday spirit. Call 518-872-0800 for more information.
Sat 15 Dec
Holiday Open House at Thacher Visitor Center
Saturday, December 15, 2018 11:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Take a break from the hustle and bustle to enjoy the peaceful beauty of Thacher Park. Join friends around the fireplace, enjoy live music, make a holiday craft, and relax with hot drinks and sweet treats. Call 518-872-1237 for more information.
Thu 27 Dec
Paint a Snowy Owl workshop at Thacher Nature Center
Thursday, December 27, 2018 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join our favorite artist and teacher Noreen Powell for a fun, guided painting class! Paint a close-up portrait of a majestic snowy owl, a symbol of survival in winter. Learn how to create the texture of feathers on canvas, and capture that steady owl gaze. Students will leave with a completed masterpiece! Space is limited, and program is appropriate for ages 8 and up. Materials fee is $10. Please call 518-872-0800 to register your child.

Registration: Required
Sat 29 Dec
Evergreen Walk at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, December 29, 2018 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

While the aroma of balsam is still in the air, take time to appreciate the season’s color- green! We’ll take an easy walk to find several species of conifers and learn how to identify them by their leaves (needles) and cones. Then we’ll warm up at the Nature Center with some hot cocoa and make a simple tree ID guide to take home. This program is appropriate for adults and children ages 5 and up. Please call 518-872-0800 to register.
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!