Nature Center

Introduction to the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

In 1914, Emma Treadwell Thacher donated 350 acres along the Helderberg Escarpment in memory of her husband. Her gift became John Boyd Thacher State Park. Six years later, she donated an additional 50 acres on the western shore of Thompson’s Lake to New York State. As a condition of her gift, she requested that ten of the 50 acres be set aside for the Albany’s Boys’ Club as its summer camp; Camp Thacher.

In 1999, Fred and Martha Schroeder honored Emma Treadwell Thacher’s generosity with their own remarkable gift. The Schroeders funded and endowed the construction of the Nature Center on the land formerly occupied by Camp Thacher. The Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center opened July 17, 2001.

The mission of the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center is to provide a place for children and their families to learn about and interact with the natural environment, fostering awareness of their role in protection and conservation for future generations. For a brochure of the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center Click here.

Inside the Nature Center

Exhibits include a model of the Helderberg Escarpment, a live honeybee observation hive, bird viewing areas, fossils, furs, skulls and lots of hands-on displays. Live amphibians and reptiles are on display in the spring and summer months.

Public programs for families, children, and adults are offered year-round. On site and outreach programs are available for school and youth groups. For detailed information about programs and scheduling call (518) 872-0800.


Nature Center Trail

Nature Center Trail

Several miles of trails are available for hiking, cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing. The Lake Trail is a short, easy trail leading from the Nature Center to the lakeshore and is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. The Schoolhouse Trail winds through woodlands and over fractured limestone bedrock before reaching the historic one-room schoolhouse. The trail then emerges into a field and follows the edge of the woods to complete a 1-mile loop. The 1 mile long Meadow Loop Trail crosses Ketcham Road and leads through woodlands and meadows. It gives access to the Salisbury Trail, which connects to the Long Path and the Thacher Park trail system. The Nature Center Trail leads about 0.5 miles through woodlands and emerges onto Nature Center Way. From here a trail across the field connects with the School House Trail. Guided hikes are scheduled throughout the year. Snowshoes are available to rent.

Rules and Regulations

Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Food, drinks and pets are not permitted in the building. Trails are for hiking and skiing only; no bikes or snowmobiles are permitted. Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet long and must have proof of current rabies shot. This is a Carry-In/Carry-Out facility; garbage cans are not provided. Please remove your litter and dispose of it properly.


The Nature Center is located on the shore of Thompson’s Lake, in Western Albany County near Thacher State Park and Thompson’s Lake State Campground. From I-90 in Albany take exit 4 and drive west on Route 85 for about 12 miles. Bear right onto Route 157 and continue driving through Thacher Park, past the Park Office. Turn right on Ketcham Road (Rte 256), drive one mile and turn left on Nature Center Way.

View a Google map here.

Contact and Opening Hours

87 Nature Center Way
Voorheesville, NY 12186
(518) 872-0800
Open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays.