• gfdc

Housed within a complex of old mill buildings in historic Turners Falls, Massachusetts, the Great Falls Discovery Center’s exhibits show the natural, cultural, and industrial history of the Connecticut River watershed. The Center’s four acres of native plants, butterfly gardens, and open lawn nestle into a bend in the Connecticut River to provide a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere and the perfect place for fun and learning.

Inside the main building, exquisite walk-through dioramas show the plants, animals, and landscapes of this 410-mile-long river from its arboreal source near the Canadian border, through forests and farms, past villages, towns, and cities, all the way down to the estuary at the Long Island Sound. A timeline indicates the impacts of human habitation on each environment over time and suggests safeguards to keep the watershed healthy and useful for all—people, plants, and animals—that live here together.

The Center’s charming Great Hall is in a separate building, a former machine shop, with a high ceiling, brick walls, large windows, and gleaming old wood floors. It is connected to the main building by a corridor whose windows on one side open onto an old canal (once used for transportation, now for power), faced on the other by a mural depicting what is found beneath the canal water rushing by. The Great Hall is used for regularly held art exhibits and special educational programs and activities for children and adults, as well as for the Friends of GFDC’s monthly live-music Coffeehouses that warm up the room while raising funds that support the Center’s free public programs.

Located in town yet close to nature, the Center is one end of an easy self-guided walking tour of the interesting little town of Turners Falls, with its historical industrial architecture and distinctive geology, restaurants, shops, and old Carnegie Library. The walk and bike path along the river and canal runs from Turners Falls to Deerfield and is a favorite site for bird watching. A short distance along the other side of the bridge leads to Barton Cove’s picnic area and camp grounds, where eagles soar over the peninsula.

The Center’s building and exhibits are fully accessible and are free and open to the public.  It is a cooperative program of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, with financial and program support from the Friends of Great Falls Discovery Center.

Visit Us on Facebook to stay informed on the programs and events at the Center and to download our monthly events calendar.

Hours & Admission

Summer Hours
7 days a week: 10 am – 4 pm
(Hours change effective mid-May)

Winter Hours
Friday & Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm
(Hours until mid-May)

Open Tuesday – Thursday to school, camp, and community groups by special appointment only.

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Admission to the Great Falls Discovery Center is FREE. The Center hosts some fee based programs and any fees or registration requirements are announced on our online events calendar.  If you would like a printable version of our events calendar please click here.

Upcoming Events

Aug
30
Sat
Bike Path B-i-n-g-o! Canal-side ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Bike Path B-i-n-g-o! Canal-side ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 30 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kids, grab your parents, bug spray, and sunscreen, and then we’ll go exploring. All ages are welcome as we practice examining the natural world with field guides, binoculars, and a fun game to see just how much you can see!
Aug
31
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 31 @ 8:30 am – 9:45 am
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Meet outside the main entrance to the Discovery Center at 8:30 a.m. All ages are welcome. We will leisurely explore level, accessible, and paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals, and mill town history along the Canal-side Bike Path of Turners Falls. Topics may include birds, fish, invasive species, wildflowers, and cultural or industrial history. Please wear appropriate footwear, and bring water, bug repellent, and sun screen.
Sep
2
Tue
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 2 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope -  @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Come learn about our neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed! Kidleidoscope is a kid-friendly, hands-on environmental experience for young children. Each topic includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to the natural world. Programming recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian
Sep
6
Sat
The Paper Mills of Turners Falls @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Paper Mills of Turners Falls @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 6 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Join Bill Wilson from the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage in Greenfield and DCR Park Interpreter Janel Nockleby for a program on the four paper mills of Turners Falls. We’ll start with a brief discussion in the Great Hall and then walk along the canal to imagine the mills as they once were and see what remains of them today.
Sep
7
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 7 @ 8:30 am – 9:45 am
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Meet outside the main entrance to the Discovery Center at 8:30 a.m. All ages are welcome. We will leisurely explore level, accessible, and paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals, and mill town history along the Canal-side Bike Path of Turners Falls. Topics may include birds, fish, invasive species, wildflowers, and cultural or industrial history. Please wear appropriate footwear, and bring water, bug repellent, and sun screen.
Sep
9
Tue
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 9 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope -  @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Come learn about our neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed! Kidleidoscope is a kid-friendly, hands-on environmental experience for young children. Each topic includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to the natural world. Programming recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian
Sep
12
Fri
Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 12 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Great Falls Coffeehouse presents – Ray Mason, rockin’ tunes with the godfather of the New England music scene. Refreshments available. Museum and Museum Store are open during intermission. Donations ($6-$12 suggested at the door) help the Friends support free nature programs at the Center. The Friends of Great Falls Discovery Center host local bands, singers, and individual musicians in the Great Hall on the second Friday of each month, except for December.
Sep
13
Sat
Artist Reception for: Welcome to... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Artist Reception for: Welcome to... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 13 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
“Welcome to Railroad Salvage” opens in the Great Hall September 2nd through September 30th. Originally, the Griswold Cotton Mill, the building in the patch neighborhood in Turners Falls has also had a life as Rockdale’s Department Store and the Railroad Salvage Store. Constructions, reliefs, and large scale drawings by Turners Falls artists Nina Rossi and Barbara Milot, with historical timeline and commentary by Anne Harding, also of Turners Falls. An opening reception will be held mid-show in the Great Hall on Saturday, September 13th from 1-4 pm. Anne Harding will present the juicy details from the building’s past, from its beginnings as the Griswold Cotton Mill to its present state of neglect, at approximately 2:30 pm during the reception.
Sep
14
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 14 @ 8:30 am – 9:45 am
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Meet outside the main entrance to the Discovery Center at 8:30 a.m. All ages are welcome. We will leisurely explore level, accessible, and paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals, and mill town history along the Canal-side Bike Path of Turners Falls. Topics may include birds, fish, invasive species, wildflowers, and cultural or industrial history. Please wear appropriate footwear, and bring water, bug repellent, and sun screen.
Sep
16
Tue
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 16 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope -  @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Come learn about our neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed! Kidleidoscope is a kid-friendly, hands-on environmental experience for young children. Each topic includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to the natural world. Programming recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian

View Calendar

Directions & Parking

GPS Users
2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA 01376.  Please note that the address may show up as  Montague in some units.

From the North and South
Take Interstate 91, take exit 27 onto Route 2 East/Mowhawk Trail towards Boston.
Turn right onto Main St. (over the Gill-Montague Bridge).
Continue onto Avenue A.
The Great Falls Discovery Center is the first red building on your right immediately after the bridge.

From the West
Take Route 2 East past route 91 to the traffic lights in Gill.
Turn right onto Main St. (over the Gill-Montague Bridge).
Continue onto Avenue A.
The Great Falls Discovery Center is the first red building on your right immediately after the bridge.

From the East
Take Route 2 West to Gill.
At the Route 2 lights in Gill, turn left onto Main St. (over the Gill-Montague Bridge).
Continue onto Avenue A.
The Great Falls Discovery Center is the first red building on your right immediately after the bridge.

Parking
Handicap accessible parking is available immediately after the Gill-Montague bridge on the right.
The main parking lot is just around the corner.  Take the next right onto Second St, then a right to enter the lot.

Contact

Silvio Conte National
Fish & Wildlife Refuge
Great Falls Discovery Center

Laurel Carpenter
Visitor Services Specialist
Laurel_Carpenter@fws.gov

Department of Conservation and Recreation

Great Hall Rentals and Park Interpreter
ct.greenway@state.ma.us
Please specify: Attention Great Falls Discovery Center Staff in the subject line.

Membership and Support
See the Friends Page

or call us at 413.863.3221

Sponsored by:
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
     •     Connecticut River Greenway State Park     •     Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center

© 2012 Great Falls Discovery Center     •     All Rights Reserved     •     Site design by Starstruck Design