• 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

Current Seasonal Summer Hours
7 days a week: 10 am – 6 pm
(Hours change effective approx. mid-June through mid-October)

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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

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.  Here are printable version of our events calendars and flyers: June 2016 Calendar of Events and 2016 Coffeehouse schedule.

Upcoming Events

Jul
2
Sat
10:30 am Kidleidoscope Saturdays – Eagles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Kidleidoscope Saturdays – Eagles @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 2 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Kidleidoscope Saturdays – Eagles Come learn about our neighbors who share our home in the Connecticut River watershed. This program includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child 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.  
Jul
4
Mon
10:30 am July 4th Bike Path B-I-N-G-O! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
July 4th Bike Path B-I-N-G-O! @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 4 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
July 4th Bike Path B-I-N-G-O!  Special July 4th Holiday Bike Path Bingo — A Canal-side Rail Trail Nature Walk for Children. Kids, grab your parents, bug spray, and sunscreen, and then we’ll go exploring with a DCR Park Interpreter. All ages are welcome as we practice examining the natural world with field guides, binoculars, and a fun game to find out just how much you can see.  
Jul
8
Fri
7:00 pm The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Jul 8 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  The Great Falls Coffeehouse presents—Fletcher & Manzi Fletcher & Manzi’s original acoustic music is an eclectic blend of blues, jazz and R & B. Veteran performers, Fletcher & Manzi provide a musical experience that has delighted audiences throughout New York and New England. Their uniquely fun brand of acoustic originals is sure to get you movin’! Each month the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center host an evening coffeehouse with local musical talent.  Refreshments available. Museum and museum store open during intermission. Suggested donations.  
Aug
12
Fri
7:00 pm The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Aug 12 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Great Falls Coffeehouse presents—Enigmatica  Enigmatica is a Mandolin ensemble that plays Baroque, Brazil & contemporary music.  Each month the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center host an evening coffeehouse with local musical talent.  Refreshments available. Museum and museum store open during intermission. Suggested donations.
Sep
9
Fri
7:00 pm The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Sep 9 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Great Falls Coffeehouse presents—Jay Mankita  Jay Mankita is a singer songwriter of Folk, acoustic & original music.  Each month the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center host an evening coffeehouse with local musical talent.  Refreshments available. Museum and museum store open during intermission. Suggested donations.
Oct
14
Fri
7:00 pm The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Oct 14 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Great Falls Coffeehouse presents—Anand Nyak & Polly Fiveash  Anand Nyak & Polly Fiveash play Folk , blues, jazz & rock in harmony. Each month the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center host an evening coffeehouse with local musical talent.  Refreshments available. Museum and museum store open during intermission. Suggested donations.  
Nov
11
Fri
7:00 pm The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
The Great Falls Coffeehouse pres... @ Great Falls Discovery Center
Nov 11 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Great Falls Coffeehouse presents—Mark Mandeville & Rianne Richards  Mark Mandeville & Rianne Richards – Americana, old country, harmony duo.  Each month the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center host an evening coffeehouse with local musical talent.  Refreshments available. Museum and museum store open during intermission. Suggested donations.

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

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@state.ma.us

For Park Interpreter Contact:
413-863-3221

janel.nockleby@state.ma.us

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