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 21 Jul
Campfire Storytelling at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, July 21, 2018 06:30 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Gather round a crackling fire to hear stories from our favorite storyteller Claire Nolan. Claire shares a fun, entertaining mixture of fairytales, legends and personal stories that have wide appeal for all ages. Bring a camp chair or blanket if you wish. S’mores fixin’s will be available. Materials fee of $1 per person. Please call 518-872-0800 to register.
Registration: Required
Sat 28 Jul
Karner Blue Butterfly Painting Class for Kids at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, July 28, 2018 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

The Karner Blue Butterfly is a rare butterfly that thrives in our area. Come learn about them while you paint this blue beauty with artist and teacher Noreen Powell. Learn to use artistic techniques to create a sense of texture and movement that will make your painting come to life! Fee of $10 includes all materials. This program is appropriate for children 7-13 years old. Please call 518-872-0800 to register your child.
Registration: Required
Sat 28 Jul
Glacier Behavior at Thacher Park
Saturday, July 28, 2018 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Come to the Visitor Center and “Chill” with our educators as we learn about how glaciers behave. Believe it or not, the ice is also strong enough to shape the landscape. The program will have hands on demonstrations perfect for the entire family. Call 518-872-0800 to register. Park entrance fee is $6 per vehicle.
Registration: Required
Sun 29 Jul
Calling All Insect Enthusiasts! at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, July 29, 2018 01:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Learn how to catch insects like a professional, identify them, and get started on your very own collection! This program will involve pinning real insect specimens. If possible, please bring a shoebox and piece of Styrofoam for the program. Call 518-872-0800 to register.
Registration: Required
Sat 04 Aug
Home is Where the Hive is at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, August 4, 2018 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join us for a fun and fascinating look at our honeybee observation hive! We’ll meet the querulous queen, the woebegone workers, and the dull drones, while learning about the various jobs they have within the colony. Observe up close the features of the hive, including the fabulous feeding port and the tubular TUBE. Try on the beekeeping equipment, and test your honeybee knowledge in a friendly trivia game! Program is appropriate for adults and children. 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!