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 04 Jun
Citizen Science Hike
Saturday, June 4, 2022 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Learn how you can contribute to a growing body of biodiversity data using iNaturalist! This program will provide a crash course in using the iNaturalist app, followed by a short hike where you can start making observations. This program requires a smartphone (preferred) or camera.
Sun 05 Jun
Stationary Birding
Sunday, June 5, 2022 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Bird watching is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways individuals can interact with the natural world. Join us as we listen for, spot, and learn about native birds found at Thatcher Park. The program is entirely seated, and participants will be provided with binoculars. Ideal for individuals who have otherwise limited access to the outdoors because of mobility issues, but is open to all.
Sat 11 Jun
Climbing Area Guided Hike
Saturday, June 11, 2022 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Join the Thacher Climbing Coalition for a guided hike of the rock climbing area at Thacher Park. This is a unique opportunity to see a section of the park that is typically only open to climbers! All participants must fill out a waiver and be comfortable squeezing through Helm's Crevice, which is 8.5 inches wide at its narrowest point. To try out the squeeze ahead of time, you can visit the model at the entrance to the climbing area.
Sat 11 Jun
(Nearly) Full Moon Hike
Saturday, June 11, 2022 09:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
See the Capital Region draped in moonlight on this nighttime hike! Beginning at the Old Stage Road trailhead, we'll walk two miles round-trip over moderate terrain to High Point. We'll stop periodically to adjust our night vision, listen for common nighttime animals, and take in the views around the escarpment. Hikers are encouraged to wear sturdy footwear, and to bring a headlamp or flashlight. May not be appropriate for young children. Bathroom facilities not available.
Sun 12 Jun
From Photo to Painting
Sunday, June 12, 2022 11:30 AM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Turn your photographs into art with watercolor artist Diane Steele! Participants will begin by taking pictures of local flora around the Nature center grounds. Next, participants will learn how to use their photographs as models for a basic watercolor painting. Good for individuals of all skill levels over the age of eighteen. There will be a half-hour break between the photography and painting portions of the program, and participants are invited to bring their own lunch.

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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!