• 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.

Current Summer Seasonal Hours: 

OPEN Every Day – 7 Days a Week: 10 am – 6 pm

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

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. 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: 2018 Coffeehouse Schedule, September 2018 Calendar of Events, and Kidleidoscope Story Hour Schedule.

Upcoming Events

Sep
2
Sun
10:00 am Great Hall Art and History Exhib... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Hall Art and History Exhib... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 2 @ 10:00 am – Sep 29 @ 6:00 pm
Great Hall Art and History Exhibits: “PaperJam” and “On a Roll– the Story of Paper in Turners Falls” PaperJam is a community art show curated by Exploded View – all inspired by paper. On a Roll– the Story of Paper in Turners Falls is an exhibit exploring the transition from hand-made to machine-made paper, the paper industry’s arrival in Turners Falls, and the rise and fall of the village’s paper mills. This programming made possible with the support of DCR, RiverCulture, and the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center.  
Sep
21
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Bobcats @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Bobcats @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 21 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Bobcats 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.
5:00 pm Canal Drawdown and Powertown His... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal Drawdown and Powertown His... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 21 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Canal Drawdown and Powertown History Stroll Take a stroll back in time along the Canalside Rail Trail during the annual water draw down of the canal. Discover rich industrial history with local historian Ed Gregory, DCR’s Janel Nockleby, and Northfield Mountain’s Kim Noyes. Wear walking shoes and meet at the entrance of the Center for this two-mile walk on flat terrain. FREE. Register at: 800-859-2960.  
Sep
22
Sat
10:30 am Bookmaking @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Bookmaking @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 22 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Bookmaking Try two bookmaking methods: accordion-pleated and bamboo-skewer binding. Make one or more tiny books to take home. FREE. All materials provided. Bring your own decorative cover papers or choose from our supply.  
Sep
23
Sun
1:00 pm Paper Trail Talk then Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Paper Trail Talk then Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 23 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Paper Trail: Talk then Walk Explore the history of four major paper mills in Turners Falls with local historians and DCR staff: Bill Wilson, Ed Gregory, Sheila Damkoehler, and Janel Nockleby. A one-hour presentation in the Great Hall with Q&A, followed by a short, easy walk afterwards, weather permitting.  
Sep
27
Thu
7:00 pm Artist Talk with Fafnir Adamites @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Artist Talk with Fafnir Adamites @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 27 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Artist Talk with Fafnir Adamites Fafnir Adamites is a Turners Falls artist using papermaking and other traditional craft processes to create sculptural works that act as monuments and reminders of trauma, intuition and the legacy of emotional turmoil inherited from past generations. She talks about her recent work, the motivations behind her pieces and the importance of embedding meaning in the materials that she chooses.  
Sep
28
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour –  Moose @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour –  Moose @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 28 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour –  Moose 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.  
Sep
29
Sat
9:00 am Source to Sea Cleanup – Help Cle... @ Green River Swimming Area, Nash’s Mill Road
Source to Sea Cleanup – Help Cle... @ Green River Swimming Area, Nash’s Mill Road
Sep 29 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Source to Sea Cleanup – Help Clean the Watershed! The annual fall trash clean up of the Connecticut River includes rivers, streams, parks, and trails. All ages and abilities can volunteer at places of their choice along the four-state watershed. Clean up on foot or by boat. You can register for the cleanup through the Connecticut River Conservancy. To learn more and to sign-up please visit: ctriver.org or call Stacey at 413-772-2020 ext. 211 if you have questions.  
1:00 pm Origami @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Origami @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 29 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Origami Join Mike Naughton for an origami session to make your own paper creations. Try your hand at animal shapes, dragons, flowers, dinosaurs, and geometric shapes. Open to all ages—including adults!  FREE. All materials provided.  

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: 

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