Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Taconic Outdoor Education Center

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Taconic Outdoor Education Center
75 Mountain Laurel Lane
Cold Spring, NY 10516
Latitude 41.422634
Longitude -73.879044

The Taconic Outdoor Education Center (TOEC) supports a variety of year-round day and overnight educational, team building and business programs:                                 

  • Environmental Education
  • Conservation Camps
  • Team Building Rope Course
  • Scout Badge Programs
  • Outdoor Family Nature Events
  • Maple Sugaring
  • Business meetings
  • Field Trip Activities

TOEC welcomes all visitors, including colleges, elementary to high schools, scout troops, youth groups and clubs. Highland Lodge, with a wood-burning stone fireplace, colorful nature displays, comfortable woodland cabins, friendly service, excellent meals and knowledgeable educators is a perfect fit for these activities. Some visitors stay overnight, while others visit for a day. Center staff also visit schools and provide lessons in classrooms.

Each year we offer Maple Sunday in March a popular tradition to come to the site and see the sugaring operation and taste the syrup!

TOEC is located an hour and a half north of New York City by car or Metro North to nearby Cold Spring. 
To learn more about the park watch Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park and Hudson Highlands State Parks video.

Don't miss these popular attractions within TOEC:

  • Highland Lodge - A large stone fireplace, excellent meals, comfortable dining and rustic lounge provide a comfortable space for programs. Wifi is available.
  • Interactive Exhibits - Colorful displays help visitors learn about Fahnestock State Park's natural and historical resources.
  • Accommodations - Comfortable cabins are heated for all-season use and have an accessible bathroom with shower. 
  • Nature Shop - We offer unique educational merchandise reflective of our programs.
  • Team Building Adventure Course - Activity fosters group team building, problem solving and cooperation.
  • The Lakefront - Duck Pond offers opportunities for aquatic ecology, fishing, canoeing and ice skating.
  • Maple Grove - Surrounded by stone walls, this grove of Sugar Maples are tapped each year to collect sap for maple syrup production.
  • Hudson Valley Maple Farm - Visit during the Sugaring season and see how sap in boiled down to make syrup. 
  • TOEC Apiary - Visit the bee hives at TOEC to learn about our honey bees and the importance of pollinators to our world.

Sorry, no pets

Hours of Operation

  • Open year round, by reservation.

Fees & Rates

  • Facility Rates
  • Minimum Group Size - 35
    Price base on per-person rate
    Cost are subject to change and are subject to sales tax
    For a complete list, please contact the Taconic Outdoor Education Center directly.
  • Lodging and Staff
  • Lodging: $25
    Highland: $300/hr
    Hubbard Lodge: $175/hr
    Staff: $180/per day
  • Programs
  • Environmental Education, Scout Badge, Team building, Maple Sugaring & Outdoor Recreation - Call for details

  • EE Resident
  • $75 Do your own - One night and four meals
    $125 Do your own - Two nights 7 meals
    $105 Full program - One night, 4 meals and program
    $170 Full program - Two nights, 7 meals and program
  • Day Trips
  •    Day Trip With Lunch
    EE-Day: $15 $25
    PA-Low $15 $25
    PA-High $25 $35

    PA without TOEC Staff - $250 Maintenance Fee
  • Food Service
  • Kids Adults
    Breakfast $10 $13
    Lunch $12 $15
    Dinner $16 $18
    Day $38 $46

Lesson Themes

Different lessons are offered to assist teachers in designing a field trip program that enriches classroom study. The lessons emphasize hands on activities in an outdoor setting and will be adapted to the season and weather conditions.



Aquatic Ecology & Watersheds (Sept-Oct, May-June):

Discover a fresh water pond by collecting, observing and identifying aquatic life from the shore or a study raft. Topic may include watersheds, the water cycle, water quality testing, and aquatic insects.


Observe birds that reside at TOEC and explore their habitats. Topics may include identification, bird songs, migration, binocular use, field guides, data collection through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Project Feeder Watch. 

Educator's Choice:

Let each of our Educators choose a lesson to teach. They will pick a favorite lesson, a seasonal lesson or a combination of several lessons.

Energy Flow:

Discover cycles in tha natural world and how energy flows through them. Topics may include, water, carbon and nutrient cycles, trophic levels, food webs and the interrelationships between their components.

Forest Ecology:

Explore TOEC's forested ecosystem. Topics may include tree identification, sucession, sustainable forestry practices, and the interrelationships between its inhabitants.


Learn about mammals that are commonly found at TOEC. Topics may include identification through examination of animal skins and skulls, adaptaions for survival, interrelationships, tracks and signs of wildlife.

Night Walk:

A "sensory" nocturnal walk. The activities engage the five senses. Other topics may include nocturnal animal adaptations, stars and constellations.

Soil Ecology (April-December)

Study the processes that produce soil and the life that lives within it. Topics can include the layers of soil erosion, the nutrient cycle, decomposers, and adaptations of life underground.



Maple Sugaring (Feb-March)

Learn the history behind making maple syrup, from tree to sap to syrup. Topics include tree identification, tapping a tree, collecting sap, boiling sap into syrup and sampling the product.

Outdoor Skills:

Topics may include basic needs for survival, fire building, shelter building, map and compass, low impact camping skills, and how to avoid a wilderness emergency situation.

Environmental Issues:

Investigate how humans impact our environment. Topics may include renewable and non-renewable resources, fossil fuels, pollution, invasive species, and endangered species.

Nature Arts:

Learning to observe and record the natural world through a variety of artistic techniques, such as sketching, sculpting, and writing.


Learning to observe, record, and interpret the natural world through journaling. Topic may include phenology, stories, and poetry.



Project Adventure-Low Ropes:

Activities on a low ropes course that use the aspect of challenge to encourage groups to strengthen problem solving, communication and cooperation skills.

High Ropes (High School and up):

A high (30 feet into the forest canopy) challenge course that encourages individual participation, expanding personal comfort zones, and supporting others.

Cooperative New Games:

Field activities dedicated to fun, energizing field games and get to know your activities.

Get Directions

Must See! Maple Sugaring season is February – March, making syrup from maple sap by evaporating the water.

Amenities Information

  • Amenities
  • Campsites, Cabins & Lodging
  • Demonstrations (Accessible)
  • Fishing
  • Food
  • Gift Shop (Accessible)
  • Hiking
  • Picnic Area (Accessible)
  • Snowshoeing/X-Country Skiing
  • Tours
  • Visitor Center (Accessible)