• 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 & Free Admission

Current Spring Seasonal Hours
10 am to 4 pm
Wednesdays through Sundays.

Open School vacation week, everyday 4/15 – 4/23/2017.

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Open New Year’s Day. Come join us for our First Day Hike.

FREE ADMISSION – Admission to the Center is free. The Center hosts both free programs and some fee based programs and 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: April 2017 Calendar of Events, and Guest speaker on attracting pollinators to your garden.

Upcoming Events

Apr
15
Sat
10:00 am April School Vacation Week is Ea... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
April School Vacation Week is Ea... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Apr 15 @ 10:00 am – Apr 23 @ 4:00 pm
April School Vacation Week is Earth Week: Open Every Day! We are expanding our spring hours this week so stop by the welcome desk for Earth Week investigation stations, habitat diorama scavenger hunts, and games to explore the grounds. Bring your bike for the Canalside Rail Trail.
Apr
23
Sun
1:00 pm Artist Reception: Montague Favor... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Artist Reception: Montague Favor... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Apr 23 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Artist Reception: Montague Favorite Places Exhibit Come see the results of a town-wide effort to capture our favorite places in the villages of Montague through art. Enjoy refreshments in the Great Hall!
Apr
28
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope: Frogs @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope: Frogs @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Apr 28 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope: Frogs 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. Siblings and friends welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Apr
29
Sat
10:00 am Park Serve Day @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Park Serve Day @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Apr 29 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Park Serve Day Give back to the Massachusetts State Parks that you love. The Department of Conservation and Recreation invites you to the Great Falls Discovery Center to help us plant a plant, rake a leaf, weed a weed, or clean up the Canalside Rail Trail. You can make a difference!
Apr
30
Sun
11:00 am Canoes: A Natural History in Nor... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canoes: A Natural History in Nor... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Apr 30 @ 11:00 am – May 22 @ 12:00 pm
Canoes: A Natural History in North America Norman Sims and Mark Neuzil, authors of the beautifully illustrated book Canoes: A Natural History in North America, talk about the history and development of this singular American artifact, so little changed over time. Canoes, the people who made and used them, and changes in industrial and social issues, are part of the cultural history of both ancient and modern North America. Sponsored by the Connecticut River Watershed Council and DCR.

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

For school field trips and group visits contact: 

Shawn.T.Kennedy@MassMail.State.MA.US

Department of Conservation and Recreation

For Great Hall rentals and recreational permits contact:

Shawn.T.Kennedy@MassMail.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