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 07 May
I Love My Park Day
Saturday, May 7, 2016 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-1237

Thacher Park is a natural treasure in the capital region, picturesque and historical. This is a day to show your appreciation for our beautiful park by helping out on some park improvement projects. There are a variety of projects for different ages and abilities. Lunch will be provided for volunteers by the Friends of Thacher Park.

Register Now

Registration: Required
Sat 14 May
Wildflowers in the Woods
Saturday, May 14, 2016 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Enjoy the lovely spring ephemerals during their short blooming season. The earliest woodland blooms are already disappearing and others have just emerged. We'll look for Baneberry, Solomon's seal, Bellflower, Canada Mayflower, Gaywings, and Pink Ladyslippers in bloom. Meet at Hop Field picnic area. Please call 872-0800 to register.

Registration: Required
Sat 21 May
Native Plant Sale at Thacher Park Overlook
Saturday, May 21, 2016 until Sunday, May 22, 2016 10:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Want to attract butterflies and birds to your backyard and support threatened pollinators? Provide food and habitat for birds and insects by adding ‘Biodiversity All-stars' to your garden! These choice native plants are easy to grow and highly valuable to wildlife. We have a selection of species adaptable to a full range of garden conditions, and some cold tolerant, drought tolerant, and deer resistant. Our preselected kits make planning easy, and make thoughtful and unique gifts. Call 872-0800 for more information.

Sat 28 May
Bird Walk at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, May 28, 2016 08:30 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Migrant bird species are back and birdsong is in the air. Join expert birder Denise Hackett-Stoner on a walk through field, forest, and lakeshore habitats. Bring binoculars or borrow a pair of ours. Call 872-0800 to register or to confirm program in the event of extreme weather.

Registration: Required
Sat 28 May
Indian Ladder Trail Guided Walk
Saturday, May 28, 2016 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Descend the cliff and learn about the geologic and cultural history of the Helderbergs on this scenic and historic trail. See underground streams, look for fossils and step inside the crevice cave along the trail. Trail is moderately rugged with stairclimbing and a couple of steep slopes. Wear sturdy shoes and meet at the Indian Ladder picnic area. Walk lasts about 1.5 hours. Call 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!