Beaversprite: The Conservation Education Center of the Utica Zoo

General Information

ADDRESS: 399 Beldon Corners Rd, St. Johnsville, NY 13329

Visitor Center is now OPEN

Trails are Open Dawn to Dusk DAILY

Beaversprite Haunted Trail

Hit the Beaversprite trails to kick off the spooky season this year with animal-themed décor that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up! This year, enjoy a haunted trail walk, scary stories, Halloween themed crafts, a scavenger hunt. and a campfire with s’mores as the sun starts to set!
The Beaversprite Haunted Trail on opens on 10/28 at 2pm with the final trail entry at 6pm. Tickets are $6/child over 2 years old, or $10/adult ages 13+. All proceeds will directly benefit Beaversprite and allow us to continue to develop programming and future trail work.

Pets are not allowed to be brought onto the Beaversprite trails.

This event is rain or shine.

For more information, contact

Friday Family Fun

This program is for families with kids of all ages. It takes place every Friday at 11:00 AM. Each week’s adventure will focus on a different topic and begins with a story and related activity and/or craft, then it is out into the woods for naturalist led exploration.  The class lasts approximately an hour. The fee is $5.00/child.  This program takes place primarily outdoors so please plan accordingly. 

Participants must pre-register by emailing

In September we will explore the plants and animals found on the forest floor.

Upcoming Classes:

– Beauty of Birds

Friday, October 6 / 11:00am to 12:00pm

– Meadows and Fields

Friday, October 13 / 11:00am to 12:00pm 

– Life of an Insect

Friday, October 20 / 11:00am to 12:00pm

– Streams and What’s In Them

Friday, October 27 / 11:00am to 12:00pm 

Field Trips

Calling all educators! Beaversprite Conservation Education Center will be open this spring for field trips.

During your visit, your group will experience an interactive education program, take a naturalist guided walk on the trails and explore the nature center. Choose from one of our topics or work with the Beaversprite Educator to tailor a program to your needs.   

Available Topics:

Wetland Wonders

The Story of Beavers in New York State

The Water Cycle

Birds 101

Tremendous Trees

The Cost is $5.00 per student. Teachers and chaperones are free.

“Little Sprite Retreat is the place to go if you are looking for a peaceful site to relax and recharge. Take an evening hike on one of the sanctuary’s trails then fall asleep to the babbling stream and the hooting owls. The site is located in the Mohawk Valley about halfway between Albany and Utica and only 2 miles away from the Adirondack Park. You are minutes away from the villages of Dolgeville and Little Falls which offer many fine restaurants and antique shops as well as access to the historic NYS barge canal and bike path. Drive North and in 30 minutes you will be in the Adirondack Park with trails to hike, stream and lakes to boat in, and gorgeous views to enjoy. Little Sprite Retreat camp site is nestled next to Little Sprite Creek in the Beaversprite Conservation Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary which is owned and operated by the Utica Zoological Society. Beaversprite was the home of the renowned “beaver woman” Dorothy Richards and has a nature center and several miles of trails.” – TentRR


Located approximately 45 minutes East of Utica in the town of Oppenheim, Beaversprite is a 1300-acre parcel of land dedicated to hands-on conservation education. Originally founded as a wildlife sanctuary by Dorothy Richards, the Beaversprite Nature Center now serves as the hub of activities coordinated by the Utica Zoo to provide an additional hands-on, educational opportunity for visitors to learn more about the wildlife habitats found right in our own backyard.


Beaversprite was once the home of Dorothy Burney Richards, aka the “Beaver Woman.” Richards became an active conservationist and animal rights advocate, devoting most of her life to the study of the American Beaver. In 1966, the Richards donated their house and 900 acres to the Erdman trust from Pennsylvania. The trust continued to add to the property and in 1973 opened a nature center.

The Utica Zoo re-opened the nature center as well as the Richard’s house in 2019 as Beaversprite: A Conservation Education Center of the Utica Zoo. The Zoo offers a wide range of STEAM based education programs for school, families, scouts, and learners of all ages and abilities. Dorothy’s home is available for private tours only.


The Beaversprite Conservation Education center is located on 399 Belden Corner’s Road in the town of Oppenheim. Email for more information.

The Utica Zoo is closed for Thanksgiving (11/23)! Happy Thanksgiving from all of our staff and animals!

The Zoo will re-open on 11/24 at 10 am.