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 

Sat 02 Oct
Trail Trek
Saturday, October 2, 2021 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

Fall is the perfect season for hiking in the park. Explore trails with an Environmental Educator on an easy paced walk to High Point. Trails are mostly level with a few moderate ups and downs leading to the beautiful viewshed of the Valley below at the Escarpment.

Limit 15 people for in-person programs

Registration: Required
Sun 10 Oct
Batty for Bats!
Sunday, October 10, 2021 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

Feeling a bit batty this October? Bats often get a bad rap, but Halloween's most popular mascot is an integral part of our ecosystem! Join us for a bat themed hike and learn the truth about these cute Chiropterans!

Limit 15 people for in-person programs

Registration: Required
Sun 17 Oct
Fall Foliage Walk
Sunday, October 17, 2021 01:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

With fall in full swing, the deciduous trees on the escarpment and in the valley begin to prep for the coming winter. The weeks leading to bare trees treat us with a beautiful array of colors. Join us as we learn about the different trees and why they behave the way they do.

Limit 15 people for in-person programs

Registration: Required
Sat 23 Oct
Stellar Spiders!
Saturday, October 23, 2021 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

Do spiders give you the heebie-jeebies? Come learn about why spiders are a super species and nothing to be scared of! We will also be making a spider craft to take home. Great for families and children!

Limit 15 people for in-person programs

Registration: Required
Sat 30 Oct
Nature’s Creepy Mystery Trail
Saturday, October 30, 2021 12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

Take a walk on the Nature Center Trail and discover cool and creepy natural objects and oddities along the way. Use the clues to complete the challenge and win a prize! Wear your Halloween costume if you like. This fun (not scary) program is appropriate for all ages.

Limit 15 people for in-person programs

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!