• 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 colorful gardens and open lawn with picnic tables 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 building is 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 Great Falls Discovery Center’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 Canalside Rail Trail 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 Massachusetts State Park operated by 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 & Free Admission


The Great Falls Discovery Center is operated by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Open hours are not affected by the Federal Government shutdown.

Current Seasonal Hours: 

Open 5 days a week—Wednesdays through Sundays*

10:00 am — 4:00 pm  *Closed on Sun., Nov. 4, and Sun., Nov. 11.

Open Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, the day after Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day.

(Summer Hours: Open 7 days a week starting in Mid-May, through Mid-October.)

Closed Thanksgiving Day.

Closed Christmas Day.

FREE ADMISSION – Admission to the Center is free.  Almost every program at the Center is free. For fee based programs, any fees or registration requirements are announced on our online events calendar.

EVENTS: See our events calendar. Additionally, here are printable version of our events calendars and flyers: First Day Hike 2019 January 2019 Calendar of Events, and December 2018 Calendar of Events. 

Upcoming Events

Jan
4
Fri
10:00 am Talking Cloth: Kangas from East ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Talking Cloth: Kangas from East ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jan 4 @ 10:00 am – Feb 8 @ 4:00 pm
Great Hall Art Exhibit: Talking Cloth: Kangas from East Africa Before there were T shirts to convey our thoughts and identities, there were kangas. Kangas are the everyday cloth worn and used by women in many East African countries, unique for their colorful patterns and also their printed text. The messages, slogans and sayings printed on these cloths are used by women to trade barbed insults, give each other compliments, commemorate events, or to express hope, sorrow, and pride. The kangas in this exhibit are from the collections of two local women who have lived and worked in Kenya and Tanzania. The Discovery Center will be open special hours on Monday, January 21, 10 am to 4 pm for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Jan
21
Mon
10:00 am Special Open Hours on Martin Lut... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Special Open Hours on Martin Lut... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jan 21 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Special Open Hours on Martin Luther King Jr. Day,  Monday, January 21, 10 am—4 pm
Jan
25
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Who li... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Who li... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jan 25 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Who lives in a tree? Come learn about our wildlife neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. Program includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce young children to wildlife along the river. Meet in the Great Hall. For ages 3-6, accompanied by an adult. Siblings and friends welcome.
Jan
26
Sat
1:00 pm Who’s Been Here? @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Who’s Been Here? @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jan 26 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Who’s Been Here? Join us for a tracking adventure to find out who has been outside in the snow at the Discovery Center. We will investigate the mysterious signs that wildlife leave behind through stories, crafts, and exploring outside. Bundle up! For ages 3 – 6 with a parent or guardian. Siblings and friends welcome.

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/Mohawk 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

Great Falls Discovery Center

The Great Falls Discovery Center is operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation
, Division of Parks and Recreation. For questions about the center, please call 413-863-3221.

For school field trips and group visits contact: 

janel.nockleby@state.ma.us

For Park Interpreter Contact:
413-863-3221

For information about art displays in the Great Hall:

janel.nockleby@state.ma.us

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