Beaversprite: The Conservation Education Center of the Utica Zoo


Haunted Trail

Saturday, October 16th, 2-7PM

$5/person (1 & under is FREE)

Hit the Beaversprite trails and view spooky, animal-themed decor with Halloween stations along the way to guide you along the trails and keep the hairs on the back of your neck standing straight up! There will also be a Halloween scavenger hunt, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled. Trail adventurers will be rewarded with a bounty of treats at the end of the trail at the Nature Center. Enjoy the Nature Center, games, and crafts, or head out to the fire pit to warm by the fire and get your s’ mores fix while taking in a spooky story.

The Beaversprite Haunted Trail runs from 2 pm-7 pm with the final trail entry at 6:00 pm. Tickets are $5/person over 2 years old. All proceeds will directly benefit Beaversprite and allow us to continue to develop programming and future trail work.

Timed tickets will be required to allow for proper social distancing. Masks are required when unable to socially distance. Pets are not allowed to be brought onto the Beaversprite trails.


Friday Family Fun

Join us every Friday at 11:00 AM for naturalist led exploration of Beaversprite CEC. In September interesting animal adaptations will be in the spotlight. From teeth to tails we will We start off our adventures with a book or instruction and a craft, then it is out into the field and forests to explore. 

The fee is $5.00/child.  For more information and to learn about booking, please email

  • October 1st – Colorful Leaves
  • October 8th – Seed Strategies
  • October 15th – Stash and Cache
  • October 22nd – Staying Warm

The Adventures continue in September with a series of programs, classes and workshops for kids, adults and families.

Night Prowl

Join us for a night time guided hike through the woods of Beaversprite. Night Prowl is a great way to enjoy an evening at the Utica Zoo and Beaversprite; fun for the whole family! Small groups will be lead on an excursion, experiencing fun activities to learn more about nocturnal animals and their adaptations! And you will have the chance to meet some nocturnal animals! The tour will be lead around one of the trails (a 60 minute trek)! Please note, the trails are not stroller accessible so we highly encourage a back pack carrier for any little ones! Night Prowl activities include marshmallows over the fire, hot cocoa, and fun activities. Grab the family to enjoy a wonderful evening together with all of us here.

$8/child + $10/adult for Members. $10/child + $14/adult for Non-Members. Guests must preregister through the link below! For more information, email

  • October 8th – 6:00PM

Home School Classes

The Beaversprite Home School Program is a STEM-based program that utilizes age-appropriate activities, crafts, activities, as well as live animals to teach attending children about a range of animal-related topics. Our home school class may be used to fulfill a science credit, depending on specific grade level or requirements. Home school is open to all students (K – 12th grade).

The Utica Zoo/Beaversprite is fully chartered as an education facility by NYSED and all lessons and activities will adhere to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and include take home worksheets as well as a list of resources for further learning. The lessons will be geared towards students in 2nd to 6th grades but all ages can participate.

$15/participating child. Students must pre-register in advance using the link below. For more information, email

  • September 30th – Who Lives in Leaves?
    Learn about the critters – big and small – who are lurking in the leaves.
  • October 28th – Winter Preppers!
    It takes a lot of preparation to survive and Adirondack winter. Learn how plants and animals get ready!


  • October 11th – The Case of the Disappearing Cones

Pack a lunch, put on your thinking cap and join us at the Beaversprite Nature Center as we follow the clues through fields and forest to solve the mystery. $10/child.

For more information and to learn about booking, email

Family Field Trips

Bring the family out to Beaversprite CEC in October for fun, hands-on nature education. Families and friends can schedule a 60-minute naturalist led hike to explore the flora and fauna of Beaversprite.

Group sizes are limited to 12 participants. The cost is $20.00 for up to 6 people and $5.00 for each additional person.
Schedule your private field trip today 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


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.

General Information

ADDRESS: 399 Beldon Corners Rd, St. Johnsville, NY 13452

Trails are Open Dawn to Dusk DAILY.

The Visitor Center is ONLY open during weekends from 10am until 4pm OR during one of the Beaversprite Programs or Events (found below).