• 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 Seasonal Hours

OPEN Wednesdays through Sundays: 10am – 4pm

Open Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day and Columbus Day.

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Open the day after Christmas, Tuesday, December 26, 2017.

Open New Year’s Day. Come join us for our First Day Hike 2018.

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:
December 2017 Calendar of events,   Kidleidoscope Story Hour Winter 2017-2018,   Junior Duck Stamp Quiz,   and First Day Hike 2018. 

Upcoming Events

Dec
1
Fri
10:00 am Junior Duck Stamp Waterfowl ID Quiz @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Junior Duck Stamp Waterfowl ID Quiz @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 1 @ 10:00 am – Dec 22 @ 4:00 pm
Junior Duck Stamp Waterfowl ID Quiz There are 49 Junior Duck Stamp waterfowl on display in the Great Hall through December 22. How many of them can you identify correctly? For all ages. Stop by anytime during our open hours to take the challenge. You may win an Audubon Bird! 
Dec
22
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Deer @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Deer @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 22 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Deer 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.
Dec
26
Tue
10:00 am Special Open Hours on Tuesday fo... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Special Open Hours on Tuesday fo... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 26 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
December Vacation Week Investigation Stations and Exhibits Take a break from the holidays and stop by the Center’s Investigation Stations and explore the habitat exhibits. We will be open December 23 through January 1st (except we will be closed December 25).
Dec
28
Thu
10:30 am Living Like an Animal @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Living Like an Animal @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 28 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Living Like an Animal What makes an animal ‘wild’? How does it survive, and how do we find evidence of what it’s been eating? Stories, activities, crafts, and exhibits will help us find answers. For children ages 4-8 and their grown-ups. Friends and siblings welcome.
Dec
29
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Bear @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Bear @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 29 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Bear 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.
Dec
30
Sat
10:30 am What Makes a Bird a Bird? @ Great Falls Discovery Center
What Makes a Bird a Bird? @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Dec 30 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
What Makes a Bird a Bird? This program will help your young birders soar their way to a greater appreciation of our feathered friends. Stories, crafts and activities focusing on bird fundamentals. For ages 4 – 8 and their grown ups. Friends/siblings welcome.
Jan
1
Mon
1:00 pm First Day Hike – Canalside Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
First Day Hike – Canalside Rail ... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jan 1 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
First Day Hike: Canalside Rail Trail Stroll Enjoy a leisurely two-mile stroll down the Canalside Rail Trail and get the New Year started off on a Great Falls note. This family friendly hike follows a gentle route and provides an opportunity to discover the abundant natural, historical, and cultural features that make the Great Falls Discovery Center and rail trail such an amazing State Park! Be prepared for cold weather: dress in layers and wear winter boots. Dogs are welcome on leash. Afterward, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in the Discovery Center’s Great Hall, sponsored by the Friends Group. Sign in at the Discovery Center’s Great Hall at 1:00 p.m. Hike will begin at 1:15 p.m.

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

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