• 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

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

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.

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

Oct
4
Sat
Early Turners Falls History Talk... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Early Turners Falls History Talk... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 4 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Early Turners Falls History Talk Featuring David Brule and Ed Gregory @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
David Brule, of the Nolumbeka Project, and Ed Gregory, local historian, will team up to present a program on early Montague/Turners Falls history.  David, will present the history of early Native American inhabitance at the Turners Falls-Gill sites.  He will also provide an update on the content and progress of the National Park Service battlefield grant.  Following, Ed Gregory will present a historical slide show of archival photos of the villages of Montague of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Nature Journaling @ Great Falls Discovery Centre
Nature Journaling @ Great Falls Discovery Centre
Oct 4 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Explore the natural world through careful observation and language play to wake up all of your senses! Through writing and drawing prompts, short walks along the Turners Falls bike path and the Discovery Center grounds, you will have an opportunity to experiment, see the world in new ways, and have fun! No prior writing or drawing experience necessary. Appropriate for adults and any youth interested in writing and drawing, accompanied by an adult.
Oct
5
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 5 @ 8:30 am – 9:45 am
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Meet outside the main entrance to the Discovery Center at 8:30 a.m. All ages are welcome. We will leisurely explore level, accessible, and paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals, and mill town history along the Canal-side Bike Path of Turners Falls. Topics may include birds, fish, invasive species, wildflowers, and cultural or industrial history. Please wear appropriate footwear, and bring water, bug repellent, and sun screen.
Oct
7
Tue
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope – @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 7 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope -  @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Come learn about our neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed! Kidleidoscope is a kid-friendly, hands-on environmental experience for young children. Each topic includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to the natural world. Programming recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian
Oct
10
Fri
Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 10 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents: Lenny Zarcone & Tin Pan Valley Trio @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
  The Tin Pan Valley Trio A Family Variety Show in the Great Hall. Refreshments available. Museum and Museum Store are open during intermission. Donations ($6-$12 suggested at the door) help the Friends support free nature programs at the Center.
Oct
11
Sat
Leaf Peepin’ Bike Path Bingo! Ca... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Leaf Peepin’ Bike Path Bingo! Ca... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 11 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kids, grab your parents, bug spray, and sunscreen, and then we’ll go exploring. All ages are welcome as we practice examining the natural world with field guides, binoculars, and a fun game to see just how much you can see!  For this special October edition of bike path bingo, we will focus on the amazing New England fall color right outside our doors.
Oct
12
Sun
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 12 @ 8:30 am – 9:45 am
Canal-side Nature Walk @ Great Falls Discovery Center | Montague | Massachusetts | United States
Meet outside the main entrance to the Discovery Center at 8:30 a.m. All ages are welcome. We will leisurely explore level, accessible, and paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals, and mill town history along the Canal-side Bike Path of Turners Falls. Topics may include birds, fish, invasive species, wildflowers, and cultural or industrial history. Please wear appropriate footwear, and bring water, bug repellent, and sun screen.
Oct
16
Thu
Third Thursday in Turners Falls @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Third Thursday in Turners Falls @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 16 @ 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm
We will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Mohawk Trail.  Activities include: a scarecrow making workshop near the Discovery Center grounds at the corner and Avenue A. (Scarecrows will later be displayed all along Route 2!).  A showing of Steve Alves’ film Food for Change: The Story of Cooperation in America in the Great Hall. This film is a feature-length documentary focusing on food co-ops as a force for dynamic social and economic change in American culture. Also, the Great Hall of the center will be open to show Beth Pelton’s photography.
Oct
18
Sat
Franklin County Pumpkin Fest @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Franklin County Pumpkin Fest @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 18 @ 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Always a crowd favorite, the Franklin County Pumpkin Fest returns to Avenue A in Turners Falls. Come visit the Great Falls Discovery Center table on the Avenue!

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

Laurel Carpenter
Visitor Services Specialist
Laurel_Carpenter@fws.gov

Department of Conservation and Recreation

Great Hall Rentals and Park Interpreter
ct.greenway@state.ma.us
Please specify: Attention Great Falls Discovery Center Staff in the subject line.

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