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

Homeschool Program

$10.00 per student

May 19 / Between 10am & 3pm

Beaversprite, the Conservation Education Center of the Utica Zoo will be hosting a day just for home school families on Thursday, May 19th between 10:00 AM & 3:00 PM at the Nature Center on Belden Corners Road in the Town of Oppenheim. The day’s theme will be “unlovable creatures” and will feature live animals from the Zoo’s education collection, interactive educational activities and a naturalist station along the trails.  Learn all about so called “unlovable” animals such as spiders and snakes, how they benefit our environment and how truly lovable they are! Stop in anytime during the day and don’t forget to pack a lunch or snack to enjoy in our Enchanted Woods picnic/nature play area.

For More Information email

Night Hike

$10.00 for adults and $8.00 for children

Please Note: PRE-PURCHASE OF TICKETS IS REQUIRED! Admission is limited to 25 participants.

– Dates:

May 21 / 7:30pm

Join us for an evening ramble through the woods of Beaversprite. If we are lucky – and very quiet – we may see a beaver hard at work on his dam, hear an owl call, or howl along with the coyotes. The evening will conclude around the fire pit with marshmallows, of course! If you know a good campfire story – come prepared to share.

Please note, the trails are not stroller accessible so we highly encourage a back pack carrier for any little ones!

Evening Hikes will be held monthly, usually around the time of the full moon – keep an eye out for future dates

Family Fun Fridays

This program is for families with toddlers and early elementary aged children. It takes place every Friday at Beaversprite from April 22 to May 27 at 11:00 AM. Each week’s adventure will focus on a different tree part 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. Preregistration is required!

  • May 20th Beside the Stream
  • May 27th Emerging Insects

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.

Contact to reserve your day for this fun experiential trip.

Beaversprite Camps

Single Day Sessions – $45 per camper for members/$55 per camper for nonmembers
Full Day/Full Week Sessions – $175 per camper for members/$200 per camper for not-yet-members.


– Junior Naturalist Camp (Single Day Session)

Saturday, May 14th / 9:30am to 3:30am

A naturalist is someone who studies and makes observations about everything in nature! It could be watching a spider spin a web, observing life in a beaver pond or sitting on a rock in a forest watching a squirrel gather pine cones. Do you have a budding naturalist in your family? The Beaversprite Junior Naturalist Camp may be for them. This program is for kids 8 to 14 years old and as a Beaversprite Junior Naturalist they may be able to help out the roving naturalist, man tables at programs and events, or volunteer to help with camp programs.


– Wet and Wild Art and Science Camp (Full Week and Single Day Sessions Available!)

Monday, July 11th – Friday, July 15th / 9:00am to 3:00pm

Join us this summer at Beaversprite, the Utica Zoo’s Conservation Education Center for fun summer adventures. Your camper will explore the fields and forests of the 1300-acre sanctuary, go on stream safaris, visit the beaver ponds and wetlands, practice outdoor survival skills. An artist will be in residence that week to facilitate a daily art project and lead the campers in creating an art installation on the Beaversprite Grounds. The Camp will be offered for campers ages 8 to 11.

– Beaversprite Adirondack Adventure Camp (Full Week and Single Day Sessions Available!)

Monday, August 8th – Friday, August 12th / 9:00am to 3:00pm

Your camper will spend their day immersed in nature while learning about the flora and fauna of the Adirondacks Mountains. We will hike to beaver ponds to catch frogs, wade in streams, and build forts in the forest. Please note that most of the day will be spent outside in all weather and conditions. Your campers will get wet and dirty. Please plan and dress accordingly. The Camp will be offered for campers ages 8 to 11.

“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.