• 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, August 2018 Calendar of EventsJunior Rangers, Kidleidoscope Story Hour Schedule, Bat Night! is August 11, and Coffeehouse Michael Nix and Friends August 10.

Upcoming Events

Aug
17
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour –  Turtles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour –  Turtles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 17 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour –  Turtles 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.
Aug
18
Sat
3:00 pm Fairy House Day on Avenue A: Mak... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Fairy House Day on Avenue A: Mak... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 18 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Fairy House Day on Avenue A: Make a Winged Friend! Activities along the Avenue include making miniature fairy villages at Spinner Park at 11 am, for the planters in downtown Turners Falls. Enjoy a story hour, a shadow puppet show, and mermaid music at the Carnegie Library at noon, and at 1:30 pm there will be a monarch butterfly release and more at Peskeomskut Park. Here at the Discovery Center, we are joining in on the Fairy House Day fun from 3 pm to 5 pm. Make a winged friend for the fairies at our craft table outside the Discovery Center—maybe a butterfly, dragonfly, bat, or a bird.
Aug
25
Sat
1:00 pm Monarch Butterfly StoryWalk® — G... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Monarch Butterfly StoryWalk® — G... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 25 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Monarch Butterfly StoryWalk® — Gotta Go! Gotta Go! Join us for a migratory journey on the grounds of the Discovery Center, as we read together the story of “a teeny-tiny creepy-crawly bug” (a Monarch butterfly caterpillar), who learns to eat milkweed, take a rest in a chrysalis, meet new friends, and fly with new butterfly wings, all the way to Mexico. Free copies of the story Gotta Go! Gotta Go! by Sam Swope with pictures by Sue Riddell will be provided to participants who register in advance to receive a copy of the book. Register by emailing: janel.nockleby@state.ma.us. Everyone is welcome for the StoryWalk®. Sponsored by CFCE playgroup and Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Storywalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.
Aug
31
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour –  Snakes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour –  Snakes @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 31 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour – Snakes 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.

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