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 30 Jul
Children’s Book Reading and Art Class with Author/Artist Susan Lunow at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, July 30, 2016 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Join us for a reading from "Simon T. Paws and The Hazardous Hayfields Case", by the author/illustrator, Susan Ann Lunow. Simon, a cat HPI, Habitat Protector and Investigator, is on the "case", tracking down the culprits of crimes against the environment. Following the reading participants will use their own creative talents to design and make their own HPI Badge/Logo to take home with them.  Instruction as well as a variety of materials will be provided for the project. Please call 518-872-0800 to register for this program.
Sat 06 Aug
Intro to Disc Golf at Thacher Park
Saturday, August 6, 2016 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Disc Golf is a sport where a specialized Frisbee is thrown at an elevated metal basket or "hole" a few hundred yards away. A player tees off and progresses down the course making consecutive throws trying to avoid trees, shrubs, and other obstacles along the way. Find out what it's all about and learn about the different types of discs and throwing techniques.Discs will be available to borrow or purchase. Meet at Pear Orchard parking area. Call 518-872-0800 to register.
Sun 07 Aug
Indian Ladder Trail Guided Evening Walk at Thacher Park
Sunday, August 7, 2016 07:00 PM - 09:00 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. Wear sturdy shoes and meet at the Indian Ladder picnic area. Walk lasts about 1.5 hours. Call 518-872-0800 to register. 

Sat 13 Aug
Geology Walk at Thacher Park
Saturday, August 13, 2016 09:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

The rocks in Thacher Park were historically thought to be nicely layered.  Recent discoveries show that the rocks are actually folded and faulted. Learn about how we are refining our understanding of the park's geology and how it serves as a transition between the geology to the west and that to the south. Meet leader Thom Engel at Hop Field picnic area. Call  518-872-0800 to register and for more information.

Sat 13 Aug
Monarch Butterfly Program at Thacher Nature Center
Saturday, August 13, 2016 10:00 AM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
(518) 872-0800

Monarch butterflies are fascinating insects that make an incredible migratory journey to Mexico! Learn all about their life cycle,view specimens up close and find out what you can do to help this beautiful,yet imperiled butterfly. This program is appropriate for all ages. Short indoor presentation followed by a walk through monarch habitat. Call 518-872-0800 to register.

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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!