• 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

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

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

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

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

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

May
8
Fri
Winter and Spring Preschool Seri... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Winter and Spring Preschool Seri... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
May 8 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Winter & Spring Saturday Preschool Series On the Move – Bird Migration.  Let’s welcome our nesting bird friends back from their amazing journeys with stories, crafts, & games. Led by Janel Nockleby, each program will feature stories, activities, and crafts for ages 3 – 6 with a parent or guardian. Siblings and friends welcome. If you enjoy our summer Kidleidoscope series, then you will not want to miss these programs!
Great Falls Coffeehouse: Judy Ha... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Falls Coffeehouse: Judy Ha... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
May 8 @ 7:00 pm
Flyer Handler & Levesque Handler and Levesque are a Connecticut-based husband and wife duo, who blend Brazilian, Latin, gypsy, jazz, classical and folk music influences to create their unique, expressive arrangements. Audiences respond with great enthusiasm to their extraordinary sound, amusing anecdotes and the joyful spirit of their music. Included on the program will be music from Spain, Italy, Ireland, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, the U.S. and more! Enjoy passionate & lyrical music from around the world for guitars & mandolin. The coffeehouse takes place in the historic Great Hall of the Great Falls Discovery Center at 2 Avenue A, in downtown Turners Falls. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Coffee and homemade baked goods are available. The museum and museum store are open during intermission. Suggested sliding scale donation $6–$12, free for children. Donations help the Friends of the Discovery Center provide free nature programming for the public. The Discovery Center is wheelchair accessible. For more information, please call the Discovery Center at (413) 863-3221 or online at greatfallsdiscoverycenter.org
May
9
Sat
Piti Theatre Company: Innocenzo
Piti Theatre Company: Innocenzo
May 9 @ 11:00 am
Innocenzo blends live music, humor and magic to tell the tale of a clown who falls sick. After visiting many doctors and healers unable to explain his bewildering symptoms, he finally understands his illness is being caused by electromagnetic pollution and begins to heal . . . The show is joyous, poetic and for all ages. The story is inspired by the real life experience of its’ co-creator Godeliève Richard. http://ptco.org/shows/innocenzo/en/ This free family friendly event will take place in the historic Great Hall of the Great Falls Discovery Center at 2 Avenue A, in downtown Turners Falls. The Discovery Center is wheelchair accessible. For more information, please call the Discovery Center at (413) 863-3221 or online at greatfallsdiscoverycenter.org
May
16
Sat
Artist Reception: River’s Song P... @ greatfalls discovery center
Artist Reception: River’s Song P... @ greatfalls discovery center
May 16 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
The River’s Song Project, conceived as an innovative year-long study combining the arts and the environment gives voice to a diverse combining the arts and the environment gives voice to a diverse constituency along the Connecticut River basin and highlights its ecology. As part of The River’s Song Project, art work created from found objects and trash collected in the Connecticut River Watershed will be exhibited at the Great Hall in the Turners Falls Discovery Center April 4th through May 27th, 2015.

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/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

Silvio Conte National
Fish & Wildlife Refuge
Great Falls Discovery Center

For school field trips and group visits contact: 

Laurel Carpenter
Visitor Services Specialist
Laurel_Carpenter@fws.gov

Department of Conservation and Recreation

For Great Hall rentals and recreational permits contact:
shawn.t.kennedy@state.ma.us

For Park Interpreter Contact:
ct.greenway@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