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 22 Oct
Tropical Times at Thacher Park Geology Walk
Saturday, October 22, 2016 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Thacher Park today is a land of temperate zone forests. Looking at the rocks and their fossils, however, we see a very different history. We find it was a land of tropical seas, often full of life, from tide flats to waters several hundred feet deep. Time-travel to geologically ancient Thacher Park on a walk with geologist Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten. Dress for walking both on and off trail. Call 518-872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required
Sun 23 Oct
Bats! at Thacher Nature Center
Sunday, October 23, 2016 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Did you know that bats are the only flying mammals in the world? Come learn how these mysterious creatures fly differently than birds, how they are ecologically important as hunters and pollinators, why their populations are declining state and country wide, and what you can do to help them. Please call 518-872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required
Sat 29 Oct
Nature’s Creepy Mystery Trail at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, October 29, 2016 11:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

We've raised the Mystery Trail from the dead and added more clues to make it extra creepy! Skulk along the Nature Center Trail and discover chillingly cool natural objects and oddities along the way. Use the clues to complete the creepy challenge and win a prize. Wear your costume if you dare! Make Halloween crafts and enjoy cider and donuts. This drop-in program is appropriate for all ages, so bring the family! Please call 518-872-0800 for more information.

Registration: Required
Sat 29 Oct
Hootin’ and Howlin’
Saturday, October 29, 2016 06:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join us for an evening walk to search for and learn more about the park's nocturnal wildlife. We will call for owls and coyotes, so Hooters and Howlers are welcome! Appropriate for adults and children ages 12 and up. Conditions will determine our meeting place. Please call 518-872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required
Wed 09 Nov
Friends of Thacher Park Annual Meeting at Thacher Nature Center
Wednesday, November 9, 2016 06:30 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Come and meet some folks who love the park and like to lend a hand. A brief business meeting will be followed by a guest speaker at 7pm. Stay for refreshments and mingle with friends. Call 518-872-0800 for more information.

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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!