• 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
10 am to 4 pm
Every Day – 7 days a week

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

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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

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: May 2017 Calendar of Events, June 2017 Calendar of EventsFamily Fish Day June 3 2017,  and Eagle Day! 

Upcoming Events

Jun
3
Sat
10:00 am 12th Annual Family Fishing Day @ Great Falls Discovery Center, Barton Cove, Turners Falls Fishway
12th Annual Family Fishing Day @ Great Falls Discovery Center, Barton Cove, Turners Falls Fishway
Jun 3 @ 10:00 am – 3:30 pm
12th Annual Family Fishing Day! Adults and children of all ages are welcome to join us in a day of FREE fishing fun! Rain or shine. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 10am to 2pm At Barton Cove in Gill:  Free fishing. Equipment is provided (please bring your fishing equipment if possible). No fishing license is needed. 10am to 2pm At the Great Falls Discovery Center: Free shuttle bus provided to and from Barton Cove. Fly tying and fly casting demonstrations. 2:30-3:30pm At the Great Falls Discovery Center: Fishing Story Hour in the Great Hall with DCR and Montague Public Library staff. 12-2pm At the Turners Falls Fishway: Fish Printing – the art of Gyotaku.  
Jun
4
Sun
10:00 am Eagle Day! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Eagle Day! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Soar Your Way to Eagle Day! 10am to 1pm:  Eagle investigation station and museum scavenger hunts. 10:30am  Kidleidoscope Eagle Story Time with DCR staff. 1pm “Great to be an Eagle!”  A musical written by Deer Path’s students and staff about the amazing story of bald eagle restoration. Sing along to catchy original songs, with accompaniment by musicians Carrie Ferguson, Garrett Sawyer, and James Rutter. In the Great Hall. 2:30-4pm:  Connecticut River natural history presentation by the Connecticut River Conservancy and participatory mural art creation for “The Power of Water/The Power of Words” Project. All ages. The Conservancy hosts a multimedia presentation about Connecticut River fish species and the impact of hydroelectric dams. Audience members of all ages will be invited to create a statement or drawing for the public art installation. 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.  The Great Falls Discovery Center stays open late for more exploration. Programming support provided by the Wendell Arts Council, DCR, and the Connecticut River Conservancy.  
Jun
9
Fri
7:00 pm Great Falls Coffeehouse presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Falls Coffeehouse presents... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 9 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Great Falls Coffeehouse presents: Eileen Ruby and Friends Eileen Ruby is a mezzo-soprano voice teacher and performing artist. Each month the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center host an evening coffeehouse with local talent. Refreshments available. Suggested donations to support educational programming at the Center. Museum and store open during intermission.
Jun
11
Sun
10:30 am Bike Path B-I-N-G-O! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Bike Path B-I-N-G-O! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 11 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Bike Path B-I-N-G-O! Kids – grab your parents and 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!  Meet at the main entrance to the Center. Please bring water, bug spray, sunscreen and wear sturdy shoes.
Jun
17
Sat
1:00 pm “Rock, Paper, Scissors” Public A... @ 3rd Street in Turners Falls
“Rock, Paper, Scissors” Public A... @ 3rd Street in Turners Falls
Jun 17 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
“Rock, Paper, Scissors” Public Art Unveiling Join DCR staff on 3rd Street as part of a daylong event – Turners Falls River Culture’s unveiling of Tim DeChristopher’s new public art sculpture, called Rock, Paper, Scissors. We will have Russell Cutlery artifacts and information on display. See www.turnersfallsriverculture.org for additional programming.
Jun
23
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Turtles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Turtles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 23 @ 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. Siblings and friends welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Jun
24
Sat
1:00 pm Friends Annual Meeting: Museum T... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Friends Annual Meeting: Museum T... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 24 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center Annual Meeting presents A Museum Tour with Muralist Frank Gregory Meet the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center and learn how you can become a friend too! Then join us for a special museum tour with Frank Gregory, the artist who painted all of the amazing murals in the center’s exhibits. Get the behind the scenes scoop on how the museum was born!
Jun
25
Sun
10:00 am Bird Beak Buffet Investigation S... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Bird Beak Buffet Investigation S... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 25 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Bird Beak Buffet Investigation Station All ages are welcome to explore the many different kinds of beaks of birds in the Connecticut River Watershed. Enjoy demonstrations, replicas, and crafts to consider how different birds eat different kinds of food. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Meet in the Great Hall.
Jun
30
Fri
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Eagles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Story Hour: Eagles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jun 30 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Story Hour:  Eagles 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. Siblings and friends welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

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