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, the Conservation Education Center of the Utica Zoo, invites nature enthusiasts and families to Winterfest on Saturday, February 24th, from 10am to 4pm.

This special event promises a day filled with guided tours, captivating workshops, and delightful activities to celebrate the wonders of winter in the great outdoors. 

Friday Family Fun

This program is for families with kids of all ages. It takes place Fridays (seasonally) 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/person.  This program takes place primarily outdoors so please plan accordingly. 

Participants must pre-register by emailing

Stay Tuned for Future Class Announcements

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 $8.00 per student. $10.00 per chaperones. Staff are free.

Participants must pre-register by emailing

Small Group Naturalism Tours

Want to spend some quality time in nature and maybe learn a bit more about what it is you’re seeing out there? Want to see the historic Richard’s house where beaver conservation was pioneered in NYS? Our naturalism tours are the perfect way to experience both. These guided tours help you and your group delve a bit deeper into the wild places of Central NY, taking full advantage of the property’s 1300 acres. These tours are intended for smaller groups or families up to 10 people, as groups larger than this are likely to frighten any wildlife! Come join us for an enriching experience and truly connect with nature.

The Cost is $10.00 per person. 

Participants must pre-register by emailing

“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

Our TentRR Site is Closed for the Season.
Contact for more information


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.

*If you are using a GPS to get here, we suggest you put Belden Corners Road, Dolgeville. Some maps don’t recognize the number and if you look up Beaversprite it sends you to a different part of the property. When you turn off route 29 onto Belden Corners Road, it is approximately 2 miles. You will see a pavement end sign and the nature center is on the right.

Email for more information.

The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 8/3 for BREWFEST and will reopen with normal hours on 8/4!