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 11 Dec
Signs of Wildlife at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, December 11, 2021 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Ever wonder where all the wild animals are in winter? You may not see them, but if you observe closely enough, you can find the signs they've left behind. Learn all about these ‘wildlife signatures' and go outside and look for signs of our wild neighbors! We'll even try to build our own shelter in the woods! Call 518-872-0800 to register.
Registration: Required
Sun 12 Dec
Winter Tree Identification at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, December 12, 2021 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Learn to identify trees in winter! Leaves aren't the only way to tell trees apart. Take a walk and learn to use bark to identify trees. We'll also talk about how trees can be used to read the landscape. Call 518-872-0800 to register.
Registration: Required
Sat 18 Dec
Winter Birds and Bird Feeder Craft at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, December 18, 2021 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Make a pinecone bird feeder to give as a gift or hang in your yard. We will explore ways birds have adapted to winter survival, view birds at our observation window. Come prepared to explore the wintry world of our feathered friends! Call 518-872-0800 to register.
Registration: Required
Thu 23 Dec
Winter Break Walk to High Point at Thacher Nature Center
Thursday, December 23, 2021 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Get outside and stretch your legs by joining us for a hike to high point! We'll discuss our observations of the landscape and enjoy the scenery of the park. Call 518-872-0800 to register.
Registration: Required
Sat 01 Jan
First Day Hike
Saturday, January 1, 2022 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-1237

Chasing Frozen Waterfalls— Explore one of Thacher Park's most popular trails past frozen waterfalls, pine and hemlock forests in a winter wonderland hike! Starting at the Visitor Center, we will walk the escarpment trail to the top of Minelot Falls, crossing the road to Paint Mine and taking the red loop to the third waterfall. We will continue the loop until we are back at Paint Mine parking lot, where we will make our way back to the Visitor Center to warm up! Total distance is approximately 2 miles.

Pre-registration is optional, but preferred. Please contact (518) 872-1237 ext. 0 to register.

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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!