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.

Please note fishing is prohibited at the Emma Treadwell Nature Center

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

Incredible Insects (April-September)
Butterflies, bees, and all kinds of bugs are an important part of nature. Discover what makes them special, and what you can do to support biodiversity in your backyard. Then, take to the fields and forest to see how many insects you can find.

Awesome Aquatics (April-September)
Discover the different parts of a habitat, and what animals need to thrive. Then, borrow nets and see how many lake creatures you can catch! Dress for wading.

Indian Ladder Trail Tour (June-October)
Descend through the entrance of the Indian Ladder Trail to view the amazing rock formations, and the forces that shaped them. This one mile hike offers spectacular views of the valley and mountains north and east.

Hibernation Investigation (November-March)
Explore mammal skulls and skins to learn about the many adaptations that help them survive in their habitat. Then, take to the trails to search for signs of wildlife. The hike will be lead on snowshoes, weather permitting.

Snowshoeing (January-March)
We'll strap on snowshoes and take an invigorating walk on the trails or in your schoolyard. Learn to look for evidence of animal life while you take in the quiet beauty of winter. Warm, waterproof footwear, and snowpants recommended.

Animal Superpowers (All Year)
Meet some of our animal ambassadors and discover the adaptations that help them thrive in their habitat. Then, take a hike to search for some of the amazing plants and animals that call the park home.

Fun With Fossils (All Year)
400 million years ago, New York was submerged under a tropical sea! Explore the geological history of the park, and examine fossils of ancient sea creatures.

The Connect-Kids-to-Parks Grant Program is designed to connect students in New York State with nature and history. Each grant can provide reimbursement for field trips to state and federal parks, forests, historic sites, fish hatcheries, and outdoor recreation areas for districts with at least one Title 1 school.

Additional programs can be designed to meet your group's specific interests. To schedule a field trip or outreach program in your classroom, please call 518-872-0800 or email

Sun 14 Jul
Drop-in Caves & Geology Table
Sunday, July 14, 2024 01:30 PM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Drop in to the Visitor Center anytime between 1:30pm-3:00pm to learn about local geology and caves with Thom Engel, vice-president of the Northeast Cave Conservancy. This is an informational table; we will not be caving. 
Thu 18 Jul
Paddleboard Yoga Ages 16+
Thursday, July 18, 2024 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Meet at the Thompsons Lake Campground. Enjoy a guided, balance-challenging yoga flow that will enhance your presence in the natural world. No experience necessary! Participants must know how to swim. Board capacity is 225 lbs. All classes are weather dependent. Cost: $55-bring your own board, $75 includes class and paddleboard rental. Register here:
Fri 19 Jul
Paint & Sip
Friday, July 19, 2024 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Meet at the Thacher Visitor Center. Join us for rock painting at Thacher Park with Nine Pin Cider. Registration is free, painting supplies provided. Drinks available for purchase at the event. Registration Required. Call 518-872-1237. Must be 21+ years of age to register.
Registration: Required
Sat 20 Jul
Learn to Swim Ages 5-10: Session 2
Saturday, July 20, 2024 09:00 AM - 09:45 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Meet at the Thompsons Lake Campground. For non-swimmers or swimmers just starting to learn. Free! Registration required. Call 518-872-0800.
Registration: Required
Sat 20 Jul
Caves & Karst
Saturday, July 20, 2024 09:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Meet at the Visitor Center. Participants will come to understand the development of Thacher Park's unique landscapes and the terms associated with them. We will observe the limestone layers and the resurging underground streams, and visit the active sinkhole and other unique areas. Each participant is expected to follow the group leader in their own vehicle as we caravan to the different sites. Registration recommended. Call 518-872-0800.

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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!