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

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 

Fri 15 Dec
Cocoa and Carols
Friday, December 15, 2023 12:45 PM - 02:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Take in the views from the top of the escarpment while you warm up at our outdoor fire pit. Grab a cup of complimentary hot chocolate and enjoy caroling by a local choir! No registration is required.
Sat 16 Dec
Ice Lanterns
Saturday, December 16, 2023 01:00 AM - 02:30 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
All ages, Meet at the Nature Center, Use natural materials to create an ephemeral work of art! Learn about native plants while using their greens, stems, and berries to craft ice lanterns to decorate your front step or holiday table. Registration required. Call 518-872-0800.
Sun 17 Dec
Needle-Felt Applique
Sunday, December 17, 2023 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Meet at the Nature Center, Create your own miniature artwork using needle felting! We'll use colored wool to embellish a cotton bag for trinkets, gift-giving or just because. Perfect for beginners, but recommended for ages 10 and up due to sharp tools. Registration required. Call 518-872-0800.
Registration: Required
Wed 27 Dec
Brownie Numbers in Nature Badge
Wednesday, December 27, 2023 01:00 PM - 02:30 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Meet at the Nature Center Math is everywhere in nature! Learn different ways to measure time, temperature, and area, then use your skills to design your own native wildflower garden. Brownies will complete the steps to earn their Numbers in Nature Badge. Registration required. Call 518-872-0800.
Registration: Required
Mon 01 Jan
First Day Hike-Chasing Frozen Waterfalls
Monday, January 1, 2024 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center
Explore one of Thacher Park's most popular trails past frozen waterfalls, and through pine and hemlock forests on a winter wonderland hike! Registration required. Call 518-872-0800.
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!