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

Friday Family Fun

This program is for families with toddlers and early elementary aged children. 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. 

– Forest Floor

Friday, June 9 / 2:00pm

Rotting logs, salamanders, erratic boulders, wildflowers; the forest floor is a fascinating place to explore!

– Trees

Friday, June 16 / 2:00pm

Trees make the forest! Join us as we learn all about the trees of Beaversprite!

– Animals of the Forest

Friday, June 23 / 2:00pm

From beetles to bears, the forest is home to a variety of animals!

– NO CLASS June 30th

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.

Due to needing time to set up for our Wine in the Wilderness Event, on June 3rd the zoo will be closing to the public at 1pm! We will reopen our doors at 6pm for the event! Event tickets will still be purchasable at our gift shop during this time!